I wanted to produce a vision of the future. Here I was inspired of the sci-fi book series “Liliths Brood” by Ocativa Butler. I was imagining fictive beings arriving to the destroyed earth to refertilite it with their bodies. My method is a lot about finding poetic and symbolic images to dense topics and then sewing them together.I was thinking about translating keywords like togetherness, spreading (counter-) knowledges, relating and connecting into legible images. With this series I wanted to move out of my own inner self to connect with other issues that occupy me, such as the planet, collective responsibilities and fantastic futures.
"Coexisting is inspired by Octavia Butler’s sci-fi book series Lilith’s Brood from the late 1980s in which a nuclear war left the planet uninhabitable. Hybrid beings called the Oankali have made it their mission to refertilize the Earth for humans to survive on it once again. In return, they demand a “gene trade” in order to undo humankind’s fatal combination of intelligence and hierarchical tendencies. Building on this plot, Sophie Utikal’s textile series constitutes a speculative vision of post-apocalyptic life on Earth. It proposes more humble and compassionate forms of coexistence between different life forms, depicting a figure who engages in various ways with their natural habitat. In one of the four panels, we see them grieving for the destruc- tion of the planet, whereas in another, they become entangled with an animal-like creature, indicating an idiosyncratic interspecies relationship. In a third, the figure studies different kinds of fungi as if opening up to the wisdoms of the myriad organisms in the soil. This rejec- tion of the dualism between human and nature is accentuated by the work’s technique: the very act of sewing implies the conflation of formerly divided entities. Similarly, the stream that seems to flow across and thereby connect all four parts renders each incomplete without the others and refutes any sense of hierarchy."
Frederike Sperling, curator of the group show Matrix Bodies at Kunstraum Niederösterreich.