Eva Koťátková

‘Stomach of the World’


21er Haus, Vienna

14 November 2017 – 18 February 2018


For Eva Koťátková, the evolution of the self is a tightrope walk between internal and external pressures. Featuring a multitude of objects generating an expansive installation, her exhibition on the lower level of the 21er Haus revolves around the film ‘Stomach of the World’ (2017), which forms the fulcrum of this thought. In the surreal and at the same time humorous film, the world is experienced from the perspective of children who perform various exercises.
The children draw our own bodies, an X-ray produced with pen on paper, to document a journey through their insides. Air that others have already used is rebreathed. Speaking becomes a kind of eating, with the teeth biting the words during articulating. The joint autopsy of a stomach becomes a lesson in unlearning empathy. During a puppet show, a stomach is filled to the brim with props. A snake is prepared for a game, the stomach sewn, a plan formulated. During the subsequent hunt, the mouse is always unlucky. The insides of the snake are explored, an exit sought and found. It is hung upside down in the hope that the organs might arrange themselves better in the body. An epidemic is played out until not a single body moves and it is time to apply oneself to somewhere new. The gaze is fixed on a rubbish dump – the open stomach of the world. Things are recycled, the actors become things – to the advantage of both.
In ‘Stomach of the World’ the protagonists imagine the world as a kind of body that internalises and transforms objects and subjects. Koťátková designs the notion of a world as a giant rubbish dump on which things pile up, rot and seep; a world as a stomach, which in turn is filled with stomachs and the things that they devour; the stomach of the world, the machine in the machine. It is about a world in which the ability to empathise is lost, interactions between micro and macro spiral out of control and communication about reality no longer coincides with everyday experiences. A world in which upbringing is equated with manipulation and victims and perpetrators are nothing but roles. The body is stuck in the body of the world. The world as a snake that surges up in its stomach: It is about the politics of eating and being eaten.
Eva Koťátková was born in 1982 in Prague, where she also lives today.