Katerina Kotsala

Moving A Mountain | Katerina Kotsala

4 May – 10 June 2023
Opening May 4, 19:00 PM


Armatolon ke Klefton 38, Athens, 114 71, Greece

AK38 features Katerina Kotsala’s solo show titled Moving a Mountain from 4/5/23-10/6/23.

Katerina Kotsala’s artistic practice revolves around the troubled relationship between nature and human, the manifestation of universal issues such as birth and death in the natural environment, and the coexistence between human and non-human living beings. The exhibition ‘Moving a Mountain’ features her works from the last three years, a large-scale painting, sculptural installations and mosaics. 

In Kotsala’s universe, tropical forests, exotic birds, strange creatures meet, clash, adapt, and regenerate in otherwise complex relationships. Her works function as fragmentary narratives across species, suggesting imaginative, almost dystopian futures. Humans and non-humans are bound together, they contaminate each other, they necessarily adapt in need of survival, they move forward despite the challenges.

Katerina Kotsala joins the current discourse around critical climate change, focusing on the urgency of a deeper understanding of the interconnectedness between nature and humans, and through her works a series of questions arise. How can we as humans experience and visualise the nonhuman? What alternative, non-human stories are to be told amid climate catastrophes? How does adaptability, resilience and survival reveal itself in a context of a climate emergency across species?   

The conceptual framework is deeply inspired by the anthropologist Anna Tsing’s important contribution in contemporary ecological thought, particularly concerning the notion of “contaminated diversity”, which gives prominence to humble non-human, ecological narratives, and highlights the necessity of entanglement and adaptation in precarious conditions. 

Kotsala’s painting practice overflows with deceptively idyllic landscapes, at times overwhelmingly euphoric, which despite the intense and mesmerizing colours, reveal an uneasy, almost ominous atmosphere. In her work ‘Moving A Mountain’ the brushstrokes consisting of a variety of contrasting textures, structures, patterns and bold colour combinations, conjure up a simultaneously paradisal, other-worldly and menacing landscape. Appropriating exoticized representations of nature, Kotsala disrupts the promise of harmony we experience in nature, while commenting on how the natural landscape today is more consumed, rather than experienced.

In her sculptural works, she brings together mostly natural materials, which she manipulates through the arduous, meditative and tactile process of mosaics. The creatures that arise after such an improbable collision of materials and techniques seem to have escaped from imaginary non-anthropocentric narratives, as in the work ‘CREATURES | How Can A Blind Bird Fly’. In her sculptural work, she often works with found objects, particularly from the natural environment, with which she experiments with concealing and revealing them. Interestingly, she employs natural materials, usually pistachio shells, glass and stone which are intrinsically difficult to be manipulated and to adapt.

The exhibition develops as a reflection around human and nature relationship, and at the same time as an intimate contemplation on motherhood; an ever-evolving mixture of tenderness and ferocity, nourishment and threat. 

Text by Dimitra Tsiaouskoglou

Short bio

Katerina Kotsala (1982, Thessaloniki) lives and works in Athens, Greece. She holds an MFA from Athens School of Fine Arts and a BFA from the School of Fine Arts of Aristotle University in Thessaloniki. She has been awarded by ARTWORKS in the 1st Stavros Niarchos Foundation Artist Fellowship Program. She represented Greece at the 16th Biennale of Artist Mediterranea ”Errors Allowed” in Italy. Katerina Kotsala was part of Documenta 14 team as Coordinator Conservator-Art Handler in Athens, and she is collaborator partner of Peter Linde Busk on mosaics.


Photo credits: Panagiotis Baxevanis