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2. Kateřina Olivová (CZ), The Carp and The Sea, 2020

video loop


Kateřina Olivová presents two interconnected works at NARRACJE: a short film with a carp-headed mermaid screaming at the sea and an extensive live performance, also featuring a mermaid, this time bathing in a boiling jacuzzi. Through both works, Olivová explores the diverse incarnations of The Little Mermaid tale, their psychological and metaphorical meaning that connect them to the feminist questions of today. The Little Mermaid is aching to break away from her present life. She falls for a fantasy of a prince whom she barely knows, longing for him to take her to an earthly reality. Symptomatically, when becoming a woman, she loses her voice – and voice is what women have been fighting for so intensely throughout the history of patriarchy. The video of a shouting carp portrays a similar paradox, only reversed in this case: a fish is not expected to speak out. But this one is angry! And it found its voice when laying foot on the ground. Perhaps it even carries the voice of the Little Mermaid who needs to scream out her pain. She is wounded and angry. Nobody is going to treat her this way!

Another source of inspiration for Olivová’s present works is the myth created by the 90s Detroit-based techno band Drexciya. The name of the band stands for an underwater country populated by the unborn children of pregnant African women who were thrown off slave ships; the babies had adapted to breathe underwater in their mothers’ wombs. The myth was probably partly built on Paul Gilroy‘s The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness (1993). Olivová’s embodiment of mermaids and water beings, however playful, colourful and funny it may seem, is mostly a quest to return the voice to all those who lost it in oppressive systems, whether they were terrestrial or water beings, or something in-between. Supposedly, through her tail, the mermaid connects to the primordial, to archaic fish and reptiles, to the reptilian brain. Perhaps such an ‘in-between’ state and a connection to the most fundamental can serve not only as the basis for survival, but also as a tool for future emancipation of all those who are underrepresented, repressed, endangered or suffering.

Camera: Kateřina Konvalinová


Kateřina Olivová (born 1984) is a performer, artist and curator. She graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts of the Brno University of Technology (Body Design Studio headed by Jana Preková and then Lenka Klodová), where she currently studies for her PhD. In her art, Olivová deals with femininity, corporeality, sexuality, motherhood and feelings. The artist’s main medium is her body, which she employs in performances full of vivid, rainbow colours, light and joy at her own existence and at nudity. These acts are often verging on kitsch and meant to embarrass the audience. The border between art and life in Olivová’s art is rather blurred – all the more so as the protagonists of her performances include herself, her son Lev and her husband Alojzy. The artist works as a curator of Brno’s Umakart Gallery, is the founder of the Mothers Artlovers support group for (not just) mothers and runs the new media studio at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague together with Darina Alster and Viktor Takač. She lives in Brno.

2. Kateřina Olivová (CZ), The Carp and The Sea, 2020

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Narracje #12

narracje #12