Eva Koťátková’s piece for the biennial is titled Machine for Restoring Empathy. Presenting empathy as a force through which to act and understand our world, the work takes the form of a room- sized installation that hosts a sewing and storytelling workshop. Operated by people who sew together strips of fabric to accommodate a group of animals, people, plants, objects or other beings that either lack something, or feel incomplete, broken or wounded; this machine is a kind of living organism which provides a room for sharing as well as for protest. At periodic intervals, the participants share stories about our relationship with others in this world, suggesting why it is important to speak for those who are not given a voice.
Eva Koťátková (b. 1982, Prague, Czech Republic) lives and works in Prague. Her work addresses the social, institutional and physical structures of everyday life: the rules and restrictions which shape how we think, learn, move, behave and create. She often focuses on the situation of groups or individuals that are from various reasons excluded, discriminated, silenced. In her ongoing series Theatre of Speaking Objects she tries to find alternative ways of expression for those who are not able to communicate and integrate in the standard way. She is a co-founder of a platform Institute of Anxiety that sees anxiety as a result of social, political, economical and ecological forces. She realized solo exhibitions held at Pirelli Hangar Bicocca, Milan (2018), 21er Haus, Vienna (2017); Musem Haus Esthers, Krefeld; Maccarone and ISCP, New York (2016). She also participated in Sonsbeek16, Arnheim (2016); New Museum’s Triennial (2015) and 55th Venice Biennale (2013).
The Machine for Restorating Empathy, 2019
Courtesy the artist.
Commissioned by the 16th Istanbul Biennial.
Produced with the support of Pırıl & Igno van Waesberghe.
Presented with the support of Embassy of the Czech Republic in Ankara.