Eva Koťátková, 'Room for Restoring Empathy', as part of 18th Tallinn Print Triennial main exhibition 'Warm. Checking Temperature in Three Acts', 22 January – 27 March 2022
The 18th Tallinn Print Triennial: Warm. Checking Temperature in Three Acts
Warm. Checking Temperature in Three Acts is a multi-part exhibition that primarily gives thought to the radical political, cultural and social turns that affect Central and Eastern Europe, and it also inscribes these changes in a global perspective through the lens of universal absurdity. The project gives voice to contemporary artists based in or originating from the Central and Eastern European region who reflect boldly and critically on burning issues such as the rise of far-right politics, globally misplaced priorities, the collapse of democracies, the shrinking of freedom – in both life and art – and the general sense of conditioned fear and hostility prevailing today.
Inviting artists from the regional contemporary art scene with existing works and new commissions, Warm comprises three intertwined cycles entitled The Nation Loves It, Pickle Politics and The Science of Freedom. The imaginary, conceptual theatre play that embraces these three acts is conceived as dramatic and intensifying narration. It articulates around the spectacles of absurdity with the intention to dissect, appropriate and distort them, but also to playfully propose humour and derision as an intellectual antidote or an imagined alternative that builds on visionary defiance and poetic escapism.
Act II – Pickle Politics – brings in a satirical and witty trait that disturbs the well-oiled patriotic machinery. Inspired by the tradition of pickling characteristic of Central and Eastern European popular gastronomy in which the fermentation process transforms both the texture and the taste of food, it metaphorically strives to turn sour the romantic conception of fatherland and power, but also the carefully constructed reality we live in. Also known as an Eastern European home remedy against hangover, digestion facilitator and health booster, the consumption of pickled juices becomes a metaphorical antidote to patriotism, to the political rhetoric of us-versus-them and, more generally, to the rigid pathos of power that shapes our everyday. Artists featured in this section are Slavs and Tatars, Dan Perjovschi, Driton Selmani, Flo Kasearu, Marko Mäetamm, Irena Lagator, Oxana Gourinovitch, and Eva Koťátková.
Eva Koťátková’s piece entitled Room for Restoring Empathy came into being as a collaborative workshop conducted with children. Presenting empathy as a force through which to act and understand our world, the work takes the form of a room-sized installation in which brought pieces of personal clothing were sown together to create a second skin, a surrogate that allowed children to express their emotions, uncomfortable feelings, or to speak up for groups or individuals who are unable to speak for themselves or feel incomplete, broken or wounded. As a living organism with human features, the Room holds anxieties, phobias, and fears, but also kindness, humour, warmth and hope.
Curator: Róna Kopeczky
Venues: KAI Art Center | Temnikova & Kasela Gallery | Põhjala Brewery and Tap Room | EKA Gallery | Liszt Institute Tallinn | Flo Kasearu House Museum | Kanuti Gildi SAAL