The pug defies. It is not only in the poem by Ernst Jandl that the pug shows its character. To this day it is said to be a style conscious, decelerated individualist. Like porcelain the pedigree dog hails from ancient China, owning a pug was an imperial prerogative.
Moreover, in this country there was a secret, aristocratic order of the pug in the form of a porcelain pug. Currently, cats are the stars of the pop cultural avant-garde: cat content rules the internet, design and markets without snobbery. How do artists reflect the constant change in the complex relationship between human and animal that is plainest in pets? The exhibition Cats vs. Dogs at Keramion Frechen displays objects from Jugendstil right up to contemporary art that deal with the image of the animal – from the wild beast to surrogate family or alter ego. Beginning with the fantastic faience dogs in their pyjama-like garb by Émile Gallé from the 1870s, via Beate Kuhn’s cat montages with their typical poses all the way to the various current positions, the complex spectrum of dog and cat motifs in ceramic art is being showcased here. In her installation of dogs walking upright Birgit Saupe addresses genetic manipulation. Conveniently, Anne Kückelhaus’ cat has a hot-water-bottle-neck directly in its belly. And Richard von Haerth shows us defecating dogs, prompting us to reflect on Kleistian gracefulness. Thus we may gain deep insights into animals and ourselves far from the cuteness paradigm.
Text Olga Moldaver
Stiftung Keramion Bonnstraße 12