Edith Jerabkova: Hey Eva, what are you doing tonight?
Eva Kotatkova: Finishing a series of sociometric questionnaires for pupils of a school in Prague. I have been working on it for more than half a year already.
EJ: Lately we haven’t seen much of you at openings in Prague.
EK: I have spent almost all summer in Budapest on a residency, and right after that I moved to Vienna for another residency at MuseumQuartier.
EJ: Are residencies a benefit to you?
EK: I am definitely not a ‘residency type’ of artist. I am not flexible enough to be able to react to new environments immediately, developing a project in a short period of time. I would say that I rather carry certain themes with me to different locations, and a temporary change of place and meeting with a new social environment helps me to find out new sides of certain problems. Often even to find its solution and finish it.
EJ: In the past your projects aimed to change our perception of surrounding spaces. Could you tell us about some of the topics that you are currently focusing on?
EK: The individual in relation to certain social structures with their customs, rules, rituals, communication strategies, remains as a central theme, but I have slightly moved from works based on my personal experience to the exploration of more general themes.
EJ: Are traumatic feelings and experiences still prevailing in your work? Could you tell us about this?
EK: I believe art is a field where we can investigate problematic things. I am not obsessed about positive aspects of life. With those, I am simply happy that they exist.
EJ: Yours is a kind of archeological approach to surveying both the personal and collective past. This is also reflected in your method of collecting materials such as clothes or school bags from your childhood. At the same time though, your memories are combined with motives and imagery from the present. Do you think this will remain constant in your work?
EK: This archeological approach provides me with very broad and diverse ways with which to examine, reconstruct and reevaluate the past, and get to understand the present. It is also a way to deal with near surroundings, fixed schemes and behavior patterns; I believe it is the only way to get to the origin of things, turn them up side down, view their hidden side. I am very much interested in learning the process and impact of education and formation of an individual, and this method is a very helpful tool.
EJ: What are you presently working on?
EK: I am finishing a series of works for a solo show at Conduits Gallery, in Milan. It is a combination of older and new pieces from the series “House Arrest.” I am building a special construction composed of hierarchically set up tables and chairs. When one wants to get to the top he has to climb up the tables or arms of the chairs. The construction serves for viewers to sit on it, always creating special relations according to the position within the construction. Then, there is “Formats of Transformation — Identity” at House of Arts in Brno and my solo show at hunt kastner artworks in Prague. Then I shall start working on a bigger project for the Liverpool Biennial 2010.