Artist: Eva Kotatkova
Venue: Bohnice Psychiatric Hospital, Prague
Exhibition Title: The Two-Headed Biographer and the Museum of Notions
Date: April 8 – September 11, 2015
Full gallery of videos, images, press release and link available after the jump.
Eva Koťátková, The Two-Headed Biographer and the Museum of Notions, exhibition and performances, Bohnice Psychiatric Hospital in Prague, 2015
Eva Koťátková, The Two-Headed Biographer and the Museum of Notions, live tableaux program, Bohnice Psychiatric Hospital in Prague, 2015
Images and videos courtesy of Bohnice Psychiatric Hospital, Prague
The exhibition, live tableaux and performance project The Two-Headed Biographer and the Museum of Notions focuses on the role of biography in the work of mentally ill artists, whether they take the form of text, image or everyday performance.
The artist Eva Koťátková has long been dealing in her work with institutional contexts that have an influence on the mental or physical situation of the individual and his or her social environment. Whether it’s about school and education or psychiatric care, Koťátková responds with great empathy and criticism. She is interested especially in aspects of everydayness, the possibilities and impossibilities of personal space and the physical limits imposed by a set of rules associated with the aforementioned framework.
In the project Koťátková deals with the topics of “outsider art” and art brut, as well as a personal and social history of the creativity of psychiatric patients. She interprets their diverse creative manifestations comprehensively through a distinctive sculptural, installational and drawing language, by mans of which she highlights the stories and contexts of the individual authors. The project also includes an investigation of the archives of the Bohnice Psychiatric Hospital, which Koťátková sensitively transforms into the form of parallel biographies.
The biography generated by the clinic serves as a normative grid, which categorizes individuals on the basis of limited and misleading data, forming an incomplete picture. It is a construct that creates a notion of the age, sex, origin, education, state of health and social status of the patient. In the case of the creators of art brut, this serves as a key to reading the work, which, however, in itself has an unclear status. It greatly exceeds the boundaries of the work of art and becomes a sort of parallel identity of its maker. The exhibition attempts to show the specific relationship between the work and the artist in a wide range of comparisons of records of both inner and external images, excerpts from medical records and repeated key motifs.
Live tableaux and performances staged in the spaces of the Bohnice Laundry and in the grounds of the Bohnice Psychiatric Hospital are based on selected motifs from the works of the art brut artists.
The Judicial Murder of Jakob Mohr is a theatrical collage presenting to the audience the case of the psychiatric patient and artist Jakob Mohr. Mohr suffered from the delusion that his behaviour was controlled by his doctor by means of a mysterious machine. The scene of Mohr’s drawing Judicial Murder, which depicts Mohr as defendant, the doctor, the influencing machine and the court, is used as the setting for assemblies or unusual conferences in which Mohr is presented as an artist, patient and criminal and in which not only Mohr’s visions, but also scenes and figures by other Art Brut artists claim their right to existence.
The project is produced and created in collaboration with Are (are-events.org).