Katiushka Melo's practice is predominantly performance based, using video, photography and other mediums to readdress the way in which performative acts are documented and received by secondary audiences. Katiushka has curated many series that take this into consideration, most recently Unseen, a performance series in which each artist is asked to make a piece for an audience of ten. She is interested in how each artist connects to the space and the intimate interaction between artist and spectator when the distance between the two becomes so minute.
Her investigation into personal human connections is framed within a broader overview of the relationship between body and environment, and the individual's place within society. Katiushka's work creates a space for contemplation, whilst her own emphasis on physical endurance provides a backdrop for more visceral understanding of the body as material and its capabilities.
Engaging with strands of mythology, ritual and storytelling, she teases out the symbolic resonances that hold meaning within our everyday social interactions. Through the interaction created while making food, she finds meaning in the daily rituals of different cultures, collaborating with woman from different tribes and breaking bread in order to understand cultures distant from her own. For Katiushka, collaboration is a true form of creativity and is a combination of imaginative accuracy built on a shared process-based experience.
In 2013 Katiushka spent three months on an artist residency in Partapur, a small desert village in the southern tip of Rajasthan in India. There she worked closely with the Rabari woman, a minority group of cattle and camel herders. Everyday she would chop their onions and observe how they lived through their daily rituals centered around food. Words were not exchanged only gestures and what was created over the open fire to nourish family and friends. Together they created a video demonstrating how to make the Indian staple foods of every household of any cast. Katiushka was also able to enter the homes of the Bohra, a large Muslim community, cooking and breaking bread with entire families. Ideas were exchanged and a book was created in collaboration with the Bohra bookbinders. While back in New York an exhibition based on this body of work was created, expanding further as Katiushka sat in the window of the gallery feeding gallery goers chapatis and chutneys made on site, creating an approachable art experience set over a small fire.
For Katiushka the community and the space for dialogue and conversation that happens around the table or a fire with a meal is part of the process to art making. The collective body that is created in this instance is much more interesting than the individual consumption of ideas. The artwork or the process of art making creates a social environment where people come together to share and exchange.