Feline Whispers @1646

Feline Whispers is inspired by Afra Eisma’s imaginary cat, Larry, and the generosity involved in the speculative care for this pet. The exhibition will explore domestic space as an extension of the body, where nourishment and sharing are important counters to a world so full of deprivation and exclusion. Could ideas be tended to like they are our imaginary pets, feeding them, petting them, loving them?

Feline Whispers @1646
Spot the Artist, Photo by Cybil Scott
“You can’t understand anything in my imaginary world. why it contains aliens or my cat Larry. but I don’t think I exclude anyone nor does this constellation of thought intimidate anyone. It is disorienting, which might fluster some.''
Eisma in conversation with Heske ten Cate

Walking into Feline Whispers is like entering the state of mind during a child’s tea party. You can’t really understand what’s going on, but you don’t need to. It’s immediately obvious that Eisma has been very busy the last couple of months. There are many, many objects, and much craft that has gone into all them, however childish their final result may intentionally appear. These objects create a busy environment that invites interaction like listening, watching, and feeling. The electric blue carpet must be walked on, the aliens plead to be re-animated, the benches implore to be sat upon, and the many ceramic drinking cups call for their use. What fun is it if you can’t play?

Photo by Cybil Scott
Photo by Cybil Scott
“I would like to make a plea for an art movement birthed out of the act. craft and intuition. I cannot and will not put my work in a clear framework. the work just occurs. It's difficult to put words to the visual process. Especially the poetics that i want to impart. I think it's fantastic that i have been given the opportunity to show my work at 1646. That they dont mind. It upsets me that there is so little space for intuitive art.''
Eisma in conversation with Heske ten Cate
Photo by Cybil Scott
Photo by Cybil Scott

Wikipedia describes play as:

Not just a pastime activity; it has the potential to serve as an important tool in numerous aspects of daily life for adolescents, adults, and cognitively advanced non-human species (such as primates). Not only does play promote and aid in physical development (such as hand-eye coordination), but it also aids in cognitive development and social skills, and can even act as a stepping stone into the world of integration, which can be a very stressful process. Play is something that most children partake in, but the way play is executed is different between cultures and the way that children engage with play varies universally. It is often interpreted as frivolous; yet the player can be intently focused on their objective, particularly when play is structured and goal-oriented, as in a game. Accordingly, play can range from relaxed, free-spirited and spontaneous through frivolous to planned or even compulsive.

Photo by Cybil Scott
Photo by Cybil Scott

Like playing, Eisma’s work is simultaneously simple yet complex. Is it about love, or is it about imagination? Or are those words actually the same thing? By creating something you find yourself in it, whether that occurs only in your mind or in the physical world, with yourself, or with others. We all participated as creative children tuned in to our instinctive and intuitive natures; the only difference is that we never fully returned.

Feline Whispers @1646
Photo by Cybil Scott

Afra Eisma – Feline Whispers is on display until 22 March 2020 @ 1646, The Hague

Background Evening with Afra Eisma on Thursday 27 Februari at 19h.