CAT LOVE – Nine Lives in the Arts at Rotterdam’s Kunsthal

This is a treat for all cat lovers. From a time when black cats, believed to be creatures of the devil, were thrown from a tower in Bruges, we have come a long way and the cat has definitely reconquered everyone’s hearts, if only through the social medium kitten videos. Some companies have even introduced the 5-minute kitten break which has been said to have a beneficial effect on workers mood and productivity. This exhibition includes posters from the turn of the century in which cats drape themselves around elegant ladies; there are witty cartoons, cats painted by old masters, Picasso’s cats, spectacular, over-sized photographs of cats dressed up as kings and queens, as well as some of rather obsessive pictures by Chinese-American artist Wallasse Ting. What stood out for me was one of Karel Appels paintings, showing his cat in a foul mood. It is the best expressed and funniest thing I’ve seen for a very long time. It totally encapsulates the moment when your cuddly beasty takes against you and turns into a beast of hell.

I have been lucky enough to have been ‘owned’ by some of these extraordinary and much underestimated of these creatures – two of them understood nearly thirty words. I have come to count my life in terms of cats’ lives. Given that my cats often lived to nineteen years of age, I calculate that I have one or two cat lives left in me.

There is also a large activity area for children so this exhibition is great fun for the whole family.   Astrid Burchardt   November 2017


Illustration is of a Karel Appel lithograph

CAT LOVE Nine Lives in the Arts at Rotterdam Kunsthal continues until 14th January