Decidedly dystopian: Katja Novitskova lands a baby chimaera in Hyperlink Athens


Text by Kiriakos Spirou

Athens-based collective Hyperlink is opening its new project space today with GIGNESTHAI, a micro solo show by Estonian artist Katja Novitskova.

Based between Berlin and Amsterdam, Novitskova is an internationally acclaimed visual artist who emerged from the post-digital movement of the late 2000s. Her book Post Internet Survival Guide 2010 (Revolver Publishing, 2010) was an especially influential document of that time, featuring artwork on the intersection between art and information in the online world. In addition to major solo shows at Whitechapel Gallery, the Migros Museum and the City Hall Park in New York City, Novitskova represented Estonia in the 57th Venice Biennale in 2017.

Her artistic practice is characterised by an extensive use of image material she finds online, which she then brings into the physical world in the form of blown-up prints on aluminium and installations. Novitskova is interested mainly in how we understand nature through the digital world; in the exhibition’s press release, we read that she investigates how “media actively redefine the world, culture and everything related to art, nature and commerce”.

“Her work touches on many things”, says Hyperlink co-founder and former collaborator of Novitskova’s, Alexandra Koumantaki. “A big part of her work is this kind of sculpture we show here, similar to the works she showed at Hamburger Bahnhof in 2019. Her work is also corpo, with arrows and charts. One of her best works is her baby swings; she took this object from daily life, the motorised baby swing, and studied how it’s like a cocoon; it imitates nature in a way. And she stripped the baby swing from all its elements and then added exoskeletal elements. She kept all the sounds it makes though, like birds chirping and streams trickling. They are designed to make you sleepy. So, there’s a connection there between nature and design”.

For GIGNESTHAI, Novitskova has created a new sculpture that depicts a chimaera created by an AI software after she fed it with animal images from her archive. The ghostly, shimmering quality of the image comes from the fact that most of these images were taken by night vision cameras in total darkness. This is the first time the artist creates a composite creature as part of her work; the sculpture was produced locally and will remain at Hyperlink’s archive after the show is over.

Surrounding the alien creature standing in the middle of the gallery space are graffiti drawings sprawling across the walls. Novitskova often commissions local street artists to create wall drawings for her exhibitions; in this case, she sent Hyperlink a series of drawings and asked them to recreate them on the walls using black and silver spray paint. The effect is decidedly organic and cryptic, like sci-fi cave paintings or patterns of fungal growth that emanate a metallic sheen.

The exhibition works particularly well as a whole within the former shop space, and was curated with a frontal view in mind, so that it can be experienced by passers-by from outside the gallery space, especially after dark when it is illuminated. The installation also includes a soundscape created for the artist by Hyperlink.

Hyperlink’s new space was created as a way for the collective to work more in the physical plane and “escape their computers”, as Koumantaki comments. Hyperlink currently consists of Alexandra Koumantaki, Yannis Voulgaris and Georgios Karamanolakis.

Situated just off Alexandra’s Avenue on the north edge of Exarcheia, the space will be showcasing work that aligns with the collective’s own artistic interests, namely dark ecology, cyberpunk, transhumanism and the Anthropocene, with a focus on in-situ projects. The line-up currently includes Omio, Koumantaki herself, Anthr0morph and Most Dismal Swamp. You can add Hyperlink on Instagram for more updates.

Katja Novitskova, GIGNESTHAI, 2021. Installation view at Hyperlink Athens. Photo by Hyperlink for und.

Katja Novitskova: GIGNESTHAI
16 October - 07 November 2021

Hyperlink Athens
Asimaki Fotila 32, Athens 11473
Google Maps pin
Fri-Sun 13:00-19:00 and by appointment

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