2017 Venice Biennale

Katja Novitskova Delivers a Sci-Fi Horror Show for Estonian Pavilion in Venice

Installation view of 'Katja Novitskova: If Only You Could See What I’ve Seen with Your Eyes' in the Estonian Pavilion in Venice.ARTNEWS

Installation view of ‘Katja Novitskova: If Only You Could See What I’ve Seen with Your Eyes’ in the Estonian Pavilion in Venice.

ARTNEWS

It’s not completely clear where the humans have gone, but my best guess is that they were killed off by something that they created: either supercharged microbes designed for warfare, computers that suddenly achieved sentience, or genetically modified animals. All of those things very much seem to be in control of the Palazzo Malipiero, where the Estonian artist Katja Novitskova, who splits her time between Amsterdam and Berlin, has installed her show for the Estonian pavilion at the Venice Biennale, titled “If Only You Could See What I’ve Seen with Your Eyes.”

Installation view of 'Katja Novitskova: If Only You Could See What I’ve Seen with Your Eyes' in the Estonian Pavilion in Venice.ARTNEWS

Installation view of ‘Katja Novitskova: If Only You Could See What I’ve Seen with Your Eyes’ in the Estonian Pavilion in Venice.

ARTNEWS

Snake-like creatures are hatching from huge eggs, another snake is floating in one of the building’s bathtubs, and a number of orange mechanical spiders have found a home in a toilet. This is, to put it lightly, frightening stuff. However, the pièce de résistance, the absolute exemplar of sci-fi horror, is an installation of tech-enabled baby rockers (the brand is 4moms), which seem to be cradling and rocking alien lifeforms in unsettling colors—blobs and tentacles in radioactive pink and plasmic orange-yellow. Beyond those disturbing baby devices, other bits of humanity linger, like text adorning plastic and the odd sculpture of a PowerPoint-style graphic or symbol.

Installation view of 'Katja Novitskova: If Only You Could See What I’ve Seen with Your Eyes' in the Estonian Pavilion in Venice.ARTNEWS

Installation view of ‘Katja Novitskova: If Only You Could See What I’ve Seen with Your Eyes’ in the Estonian Pavilion in Venice.

ARTNEWS

Intriguingly, viewed up close, some of the beings printed on metal—the snakes, a polar bear—are faintly grainy, as if we are viewing them through some digital filter or device, just slightly at a remove. Thinking back to the show’s title, one question seems to be: Through whose eyes are we seeing this exhibition? Another logically follows: Could this be our own vision, as interpolated through a not-so-distant cyborg-inflected future?

Installation view of 'Katja Novitskova: If Only You Could See What I’ve Seen with Your Eyes' in the Estonian Pavilion in Venice.ARTNEWS

Installation view of ‘Katja Novitskova: If Only You Could See What I’ve Seen with Your Eyes’ in the Estonian Pavilion in Venice.

ARTNEWS

 

 

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