[News] Lito Kattou at Pierre Poumet in Bordeaux, France

For her current solo show at Pierre Poumet Contemporary Art in Bordeaux, France, Cypriot visual artist Lito Kattou presents Solar Love for the Rapid Felines, the latest chapter in an ongoing series of works that deal with the agency of matter and the possibilities of total flatness. Various sculptures have been placed on the floor and walls of the gallery, all spreading flat on the surfaces as if a huge, invisible balloon was inflated inside the space, squeezing them against the concrete. On the floor, garments made of soft fabric and that look like one-piece uniforms lay empty, as if marking the absence of the body that would wear them (Feline 1, Feline 2, Feline 3; 2016). Their emptiness and flatness is accentuated by sandwiching the fabric between pieces of metal and magnets, which secure the fabric with a constant, gentle force. These sculptures, just like the rest of the works on display, evoke a silence that, according to the artist, is necessary for relations and interactions to happen; they suggest an emptiness that is not void, but pregnant with possibility.

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The exhibition is accompanied by a publication [1] (in a limited edition of five copies) that describes the saga of these “felines” and unfolds as a theatrical dialogue alternating between us, the viewers, and “them”, the feline creatures. The two worlds seem to exist parallel to each other but not really interacting, with the felines engaging in deep philosophical discussions on their experience of and relation to the physical world, while the viewers observe from afar without really understanding what they’re doing. The 116-page publication ends with stories from different cultures about how the sun travels underground during the night to replenish its strength before climbing the sky again the next day; the sun’s fiery disk is evoked in the exhibition with a series of four treated copper disks (Planets, 2016), their linear arrangement adding rhythm and a sense of time passing to the exhibition. Cast-aluminium daggers (Weapon, 2016) and bloody scratches embroidered on the felines’ suits refer to the violence of constructed realities and psychological attack and defence mechanisms. 

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Inspired by the artist’s surname (κάττα, or kattha, is the Cypriot word for cat, possibly a loan from colonial times), the feline protagonists of Kattou’s text are like shadows, or pure sensing consciousnesses that explore a nocturnal world of tropical plants, cool grass and warm, mosquito-filled air. The lightness and peculiar, perforated corporeality of these creatures is reflected in their costumes, spread on the gallery’s floor with their wounds exposed: in Feline 2, its ligaments are made of semi-transparent lycra, fragile and vulnerable instead of fortified as you would normally find in a uniform meant to be used. Meanwhile, the overhanging “planets” offer a point of observation: for John Berger [2], to see a hill implies that you can be seen from that hill, and so these floating worlds are potential vantage points for observing the felines below. As Kattou mentions in the preface of her book, this body of work is “about the visibilities of the places and the abilities of the body in those places”; as such, her exhibition traverses the realm of a loosened material existence, paper-thin and full of microscopic morsels of dust, like the wings of a butterfly.

The exhibition Solar Love for the Rapid Felines by Lito Kattou continues at Pierre Poumet Contemporary Art (130 rue Notre-Dame, 33000, Bordeaux, France) through the 17th of December 2016.

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References
[1] Lito Kattou, 2016. Solar Love for the Rapid Felines. Dissertation for MA Sculpture, Royal School of Fine Arts, London.
[2] John Berger, 1972. Ways of Seeing. Penguin Books, London.

Useful Links
Lito Kattou Official Website
Pierre Poumet Contemporary Art official website

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