Katja Novitskova (born in Estonia in 1984) examines the position and point at which the technological dimension coincides with the physical dimension, deeming them two faces of the same ideological continuum. Dissolving the differences between mediums, the artist’s interest lies in interpreting and understanding visual material by producing digital collages, sculptures and installations.Uždaryti
Katja Novitskova definitely made a mark on the international scene when she published the text Post Internet Survival Guide 2010– a study of the methods of production and distribution of art online in that year. It can be considered both a publication of the artist and an installation; it not only provides reading pleasure but has also appeared as a theme in other works by the artist. Precisely because digital materials change suddenly, an image too can quickly be modified to acquire new meanings. In the introduction to the text, Novitskova states that ‘the notion of a survival guide arises as an answer to a basic human need to cope with increasing complexity.’She defines it as a vital tool which takes us to a point where we can ask ourselves what it means to be human today.
The work is part of the series ‘Approximations’, started in 2012, which comprises cut-out images of fantastically photogenic animals affixed to aluminium. The animals are all larger than life-size and printed as flat images. HD resolution ensures high quality, the best we can obtain with our smartphones.
Critics have described Katja Novitskova as a “post-internet artist”, and this series especially fits that definition. Today, and thanks to the web, we are surrounded by images everywhere – flat two-dimensional images which we mostly view on computers, smartphones, and the like. The research Katja Novitskova does with ‘Approximations’is about taking a real animal and preparing its image for such flat 2D use. It is only on seeing the cut-outs in reality that we recognise they are not 3D and are led to ask ourselves about any image found on Google whether we consider it as 3D or 2D. In a way, one could say anything can be defined by our own perception and predisposition.
The statement“flatness is psychological” is thus very important for the artist. Kirsty Bell, in an insightful essay on Novitskova’s work, says ‘the two-dimensional image presented as three-dimensional display is as “real”as the well-polished, camera-ready version of nature it depicts. Just as our perception of space has been altered by rapid advances in digital technology, so, according to Novitskova, the line demarcating the natural world from its technological rendering has dissolved; all exist now in an ecological continuum of material development.’Bell notes that ‘pert red polyurethane arrows writhe upwards to signal growth’ – this can be seen as a clear reference both to the theme of evolution and to the capitalistic idea of how much our society cares about growing the value of things we own (art included?).
In 2017, Katja Novitskova represented Estonia at the Venice Biennale.