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Souris The Cat In A Coffin Almost Steals The Show!

Source: The Guardian, UK


Souris The Cat

Laid out in a tiny white coffin, his face peeking out from under what looks like an embroidered tablecloth, Souris the cat looks serene and slightly ridiculous – anthropomorphised by the human he has left behind, now his nine lives are exhausted.

There are several intriguing images in this year's Deutsche Börse photography prize shortlist, but none more so than Sophie Calle's portrait of her deceased pet. Above Souris, a framed text recounts his passing: "Florence stroked him. Anne put him to sleep. He died." Then these words detail his funeral service: "Yves buried him. Serena planted daffodils around his grave." The deadpan tone, typical of Calle, is heightened by the payoff, a phone message received from a friend: "Sophie, I am sorry about your cat. Could you ask Camille to pick up some vegetables, maybe leeks or turnips if she sees any? Kisses."

Souris almost steals the show in the French artist's small but perfectly formed exhibition, My Mother, My Father, My Cat, a meditation on mortality that walks a fine line between grief and deadpan humour, though, as is often the case with Calle, how deadpan or how humorous is open to question. Her mother, for instance, is represented by a photograph of a stuffed giraffe, her father by a ram's head, both of which are, for her, emblematic. Elsewhere, the tone is more elegiac, with photographs housed in small wooden frames that recall holy icons.

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