Katja Novitskova is an Estonian artist whose art has shown in a dozen countries since her first solo show in Berlin in the mid-2000s. Only 33, she’s young to be given a massive stage like City Hall Park in Lower Manhattan, but her art is world-scale and deserves the platform.
In the grassy, arboreal park, the exhibition will set man-sized images of Earth’s stranger creatures on planet-like plates of dyed and sculpted aluminum alongside the footpaths, each work between six and eight feet across. Squid, hydras, round worms and the like, digitally embossed on the plates, will feature in the show, which is called “Earth Potential.”
Novitskova, who is primarily a digital artist, wants to demonstrate the relationship between today’s culture of omnipresent digital imagery and the environment, specifically how the technology available in all of our pockets has affected the ways we look at the natural world.
The subtext under the images is that all of the animals that Novitskova has chosen to feature are creatures being studied for biotech research. The brains of roundworms have been digitized for research reasons, for example. Squids are studied for their brains, geckos for their legs and their unusual skin. Hydra may hold the secrets to self-replicating nanotech.
“Earth Potential” is being brought to the park this summer, from June 22 to November 9, by New York City’s Public Art Fund, under the curatorship of Emma Enderby.
“From the micro to the macro, Novitskova brings to life a world that was once invisible but now, due to advances in satellite cameras and electronic microscopes, can be pictured in great detail,” Enderby had to say in a public statement. “These images are also of living forms that are used in the scientific community to synthetically change the future of our planet. With this, Novitskova invites the viewer to reflect on the ways in which we see our world and how we perceive the potential of the Earth.”