New York-based artist Aya Kakeda has created resting ceramic figures for the exhibition. While at first the small round figures appear to be carefree and blissfully dreaming, their fungal or plant-like infestation alludes to the schöne Verwesung (beautiful decomposition) of the creatures that gives the works their title. This visualisation of death puts the viewer in a different mood, one that is a mixture of light-heartedness and sorrow. Rather fittingly, kawaii is the Japanese version of cute, while the similar-sounding term kowai is translated as creepy or horrible — Kakeda’s works fall into both of these categories.
The animated film Call of Cuteness by the young Frankfurt-based artist Brenda Lien was released in 2017 as the second part of her short film trilogy about internet phenomena. It was awarded the rating “Highly Commended” by the Filmbewertungsstelle (FBW). Call of Cuteness is a critical examination of popular internet videos and attracted considerable attention. Referring to the omnipresence of cats online, Lien’s video work interrogates the treatment of these animal protagonists, which is loving on the one hand but voyeuristic and sometimes cruel on the other. Despite its graphic abstraction, the film is almost unbearable to watch and kindles a desire to protect the tormented.