A giant, deconstructed body – part animal, part human – welded from a metal frame, with oversized items of clothing and brightly-coloured costumes that visitors may try on, transport crates and collages of material, unfolds to create an immersive landscape in the extensive installation My Body Is Not an Island by the Czech artist and film-maker Eva Koťátková. Stories both factual and fictional telling of physical and mental oppression are written into the work. Tales from the perspectives of humans, animals and plants are activated every week by the performer and can be supplemented with the public’s own experiences.
Originating from her own interest in social structures – such as the family, schools, or work – in this art work, Eva Koťátková explores the question of how normalisation processes shape our everyday lives and can give rise to forms of excessive (self-)control, violence and fear.
Influenced by the poetics of surrealism and theatrical stage designs, the artist has created an inclusive place in which we can face our dreams and our unconscious. My Body Is Not an Island invites children, young people and adults alike to empathise with others and to learn how to use emotions as a way in to the world: Bring your emotions and your jackets too, the artist tells us.
Urbane Künste Ruhr makes its own artistic contribution to each Ruhrtriennale. Following up on Ruhr Ding: Schlaf, an exhibition project across several cities early this summer that addressed our relationship with the body and time in a post-industrial context, it has invited Eva Koťátková to create a site-specific version of My Body Is Not an Island at Liebfrauenkirche Duisburg after the work had previously been seen in Bordeaux and Prague.
Produced by Urbane Künste Ruhr for Ruhrtriennale
Kulturkirche Liebfrauen Duisburg