Katja Novitskova, “Earth Potential (water resources, gecko leg),” 2016, Digital print on 4 layers of aluminium, steel fixtures, cutout display, 190 × 190 × 100 cm, Edition of 1 (+ 1AP). Shanghai Himalayas Museum installation view, 2017


Emerging artist Katja Novitskova presents “Earth Potential (water resources, gecko leg),” comprised of cutout displays, which look to corporate presentations typically found in trade fair environments. The flat, bright, crisp natural imagery, culled from myriad online sources, is diagrammatically assembled by the artist. The trompe-l’oeils foregrounds a disjunction between online and offline representation—a play between “real” images implanted into a 3-dimensional space, which determinedly maintain a distinctive flatness.

The work is a welcoming gesture, positioned in the entrance of the exhibition in order to highlight many of the Shanghai Project’s critical explorations. It acts as a warm-up for audiences to delve deeper into the urgent reality of our days. The work becomes an ideal spot for selfies, therein perpetuating the cycle of image flow—sending it back to where it originally came, especially as it stands in an easily navigable open space. At the same time, the work playfully brings our attention to resources and the deep biological processes of adaption from natural, corporate, aesthetic, and technological contexts. The seemingly disproportionate collage presents the volume of the Earth in relation to the volume of its water, thereby helping audiences visualize the resource’s unrenewable reality and the planet’s dried-up liquidity.

Katja Novitskova, born 1984 in Tallinn, Estonia, lives and works in Berlin and Amsterdam. She was artist in residence at the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam from 2013 to 2015. Novitskova’s works includes cutouts from digital imagery, sculptures, installations and artist publications. In her work she examines ecological and information systems, through an engagement with digital data, exploring the co-evolution of planetary ecosystems and species and the competing forces of human expansion and biodiversity.

In 2010, she published the influential artist book the ‘Post Internet Survival Guide’ and in 2016 her second artist book ‘Dawn Mission’ was published with the Kunstverein in Hamburg. She had her first solo exhibition at Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler, Berlin in 2012. Her work has been featured in Art Forum, Art Review, Frieze, Mousse, Metropolis M and Leap, amongst others. Katja Novitskova is represented by Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler, Berlin and Greene Naftali, New York.