In her office we discussed: Jindřich Chalupecký Society, Ini Project, Artists exhibition fees, Liveable wages for artists, Not every artist and artwork is meant to be sold, How to finance art creation, Working Artists and the Greater Economy, Call Against Zero Wage in Prague: Art Workers’ Organising in the Context of Eastern Europe, The myth of the starving artist, The need to pay creative professionals a living wage (at least), Know your value, The art grant system and how it is flawed, Be honest when you write grants, Grant writing, Art awards, Art competitions, Award judging, The politics of judging awards, The balance of aesthetics vs concept, The importance of an artist statement, Having a writer or curator write your artist statements, The need to be genuine in your artist statement, The need for artists to also be business people, Do not be a pushy artist, Anna Hulačová, Build your network, one thing leads to another.
Karina Kottová (* 1984) has long been one of the most prominent curators of contemporary art in the Czech Republic. She is the founder of a number of smaller projects and curator with an international reach. Since 2015 he has been managing the Jindřich Chalupecký Society.
Karina Kottová graduated in Art and Heritage from the University of Maastricht, then returned to Prague to gather experience as head of the education department at the Kampa Museum (2007–2009) and later at the DOX Center for Contemporary Art (2009–2012). It is precisely the emphasis on the role of mediation of contemporary art that has been traceable in Kott’s projects from the beginning until today. He also became the subject of her dissertation (defended 2015 at Masaryk University in Brno, headed by doc. Ladislav Kesner Jr.) on the topic of Institution and Audience.
Its starting point in relation to contemporary art was the workshops with artists organized by the UMA team: You Make Art (2008, today under the name UMA Audioguide). Together with Jana Babincová she founded the project to enable students or other interested people from the general public to meet personally with representatives of the contemporary art scene. Then Kottová collaborated on the foundation of the Bohnice Laundry Room in the Bohnice Medical Institution (2011–2015), the INI Project experimental space (from 2013 up to now) and the Věra Jirousová Award for Fine Arts Critics (since 2013 up to now).
For the MeetFactory Center for Contemporary Art, where Kott replaced (2012–2015) as the curator of Dušan Zahoranský’s gallery program, she has prepared exhibitions such as Opposite to Truth (2012, Anna Hulačová, Pavla Screanková, Iede Reckman, Derk Thijs, Erwin Wurm). Francis Alÿs, Peter Fischli & David Weiss, Vojtěch Fröhlich, etc., Plato’s Third Eye (2014, Matyáš Chochola, Kirstin Roepstorff, Pavel Sterec, Sinta Werner, etc.), 15,000 years of identity (2015, Matěj Smetana and Dan Perjovschi , collaboration with Jaro Varga) and a performance set in a site-specific installation by Jan Haubelt and Jiří Thýn A little worse than Romeo (2015, collaboration with Matěj Samec). Typical of these exhibitions was thematic framing with a slightly engaged subtext, space for associative thinking and interest in the irrational view of the world.
As the director of the Jindřich Chalupecký Society, Kottová has been working for three years in addition to organizing the Jindřich Chalupecký Award on an intensive support program for the contemporary Czech art scene and its international contextualization, including through a foreign exhibition program. For example, she prepared an exhibition Don’t Worry, Boy (2017) at the ForumBOX in Helsinki, which worked mainly with the authors who went through the Jindřich Chalupecký Award and Ripple Effect (together with Fatoş Üstek) in Futura, Prague. In 2018, he is preparing a laureate exhibition by Barbora Kleinhamlová (CJCh 2016) at the SAVVY Contemporary in Berlin or a solo exhibition by Kateřina Vincourová at the Katzen Arts Center in Washington.
Kottová sees curatorship as a creative activity based on dialogue and at the same time caring for authors and audiences. Its essence is shaping the context and ways of presenting and distributing works in today’s extremely accelerated operation of contemporary art.