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Hong Kong CatWalk
by Robin Peckham

Hong Kong ArtWalk
1 Shin Hing St./ Mee Lun St., Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
16 March 2011

Working under the guises of their feline alter-egos Fyodor Arsenyvich Koschka and Oscar Muessa, artists Nadim Abbas and Joao Vasco Paiva contributed a rather unconventional project to Hong Kong’s annual ArtWalk, a one-night event during which downtown galleries open special exhibitions into the evening in support of the local charity Society for Community Organization. On a concrete stairway that functions as a narrow street populated by a handful of galleries and al fresco restaurants, Abbas and Paiva cordoned off a small service alley, blockading it with salvaged wooden doors on both ends and allowing access to the only route through the intervening space in the form of cat doors--small openings just about ground level that would flap open and slam shut as their intended audience came and went.

Next to the doors (or doors within doors, as the cat doors were in fact cut out of the larger and inoperable human doors) Abbas and Paiva installed a set of black and white closed circuit television monitors, purportedly streaming footage of the cat party going on inside the alley. Cued by a large bowl of cat food, visitors were led to believe that the artists had attracted an impressive number of cats to the premises; as such, a considerable number of the furry faces appeared on the monitors outside. This was not, however, actually the case: in reality the artists had spent weeks feeding the cats around Central, attempting to film them eating in sufficiently generic settings and suturing these clips together. Throughout the course of their travails they were accosted by mad cat ladies and made a few new friends, but it seems unlikely the scene will be repeated any time soon. Stemming from the convergence of their primary interests--Abbas with psychological trickery and the fabrication of non-spaces, Paiva with novel readings of the urban terrain--”CatWalk” demonstrates that rare scenario in which a spot of humor suffices to push through awkward moments in the development of artistic practice.

-- Robin Peckham

(All images courtesy of Hong Kong ArtWalk and the artists.)

Posted by Robin Peckham on 4/11/11 | tags: video-art installation

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