Cat scan

Cats that morph into vacuum cleaners have never been the subject of artistic discourse. Photographs of cats and their insides...

Written by Georgina Maddox | Published:March 26, 2009 2:16 am

An exhibition that celebrates the feline,while thumbing its nose at high art

Cats that morph into vacuum cleaners have never been the subject of artistic discourse. Photographs of cats and their insides,arranged in Translite boxes,have never looked so aesthetic,nor has anyone bothered to enact cat antics dressed in a cat suit. We may not have paid attention to the number of words that begin with ‘cat’ but sound pieces brings our attention to it,while the popularity of cats on match-labels,is brought home by a display of match boxes.

A group of four zany artists come together in a show curated by Gitanjali Dang,titled Caturday is Cleaning Day,bringing the feline into focus. The exhibition,that opened at the Loft,residency space and gallery yesterday,evokes a Duchampian sense of humour and “pushes the envelope without necessarily being worried about it being delivered to specific addresses”,to quote the curator. Duchamp founded of the Dadaist anti-art movement. Dadaists’ theorised anything can become art—even a urinal,if the artist signs his or her name on it. In this instance,it is not the found objects that artists like Kiran Subbaiah,Shahid Datawala,Baptist Coelho and Shreyas Karle celebrate,but a sense of irreverence.

Why cats,one wonders. Dang and the artists were inspired to work on the show by a maverick site,4chan.com,a photocopying portal. Once an Internet trawler uploaded a picture of his cat,in seconds duplicates of the picture were sent out to thousands of sites online,infiltrating inboxes through forwarded mails.

“I was already working on images of animals,plants and human beings through a series of photographs and X-rays,” says photographer Datawala. Datawala has worked with his cat photographs by overlapping the cats and their X-rays,creating a kind of dreamlike-feel to them. Far from being revolting,as one would imagine of innards,the photos are aesthetic.

A series of paper-works of typed out stories and diagrammatic drawings,explores Karle’s journey to viewing cats as vacuum cleaners,by catching rats. Lastly,Subbaiah displays his macabre sense of humour creating a death trap for food used to feed the big cat,the lion.

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