I visited Rotterdam at 19 Dec 2017, and met a very interesting exhibition there, which named as Catlove. It collected many cultural products about cat from high art to low art, and even to internet culture, including posters, paintings, drawings, illustrations, movies and exhibition space construction etc.
Combining legendary “high art” liked Picasso’s drawing with nostalgia pre-industrial posters, casual illustration and even images from video games or YouTube, this exhibition obviously emerged a healthy inclusivity in contemporary art, or a new possible identity of art.
There are always some arts liked a manifesto that claiming what art is, what art can be, or what art should be, which is not bad, but too much, there are always some artworks or artists practicing liked fighting for the position of main protagonist in a space or even in art field, which is reasonably humanistic, but too suffocating for the countless ego collision. However, this exhibition was very different, Picasso’s drawing to his cat is equal to a poster about cat, and also equal to a playground space filled by cat-related products. Here, artists are not the main protagonist, nor artworks, nor art; here, only cat, and human’s attitude to cat are the main protagonist; here, no matter high art or low art, or even the cultural products probably not be considered as “art”, are equally the elements to construct the space to emerge human’s perspectives to a topic in the world, and embody the cultural phenomenon. Art here, seems really turn back to be a conductor to human’s echo with world, liked what it did with religion before. The individual artworks may still be a container to ego, but the space is no longer a body-building competition between egos.
There was a man seem trying to see if there is any cats in a space under a projection, no matter he did or didn’t, the point is, the atmosphere of the exhibition made me feel that. What in my mind within the exhibition, was not “ArtArtArtArt…?”, but “CatCatCatCat…!”. Being showered by this exhibition, I thought, and I think perhaps, morally, art would be better to not just start from art, nor just end as art, because seems nothing will be refreshed or bred by an enclosed and narcissistic capital cycle.
Wai Kit Chan (Hector)