Joy Division plus cats equals instant clickbait for this blog. But that was probably never the intention of a Stuckist painter so surreal she calls herself Jasmine Surreal.
In a colourful, cat-mad show at Trispace Gallery in South London, this work brings a sobrietyÂ to proceedings, a stony sense of the monumental, or indeed the memorial.
But there is nothing too, too serious about the content, which replaces Ian Curtis and the rest of the band with toy cats. An inscription reads â€˜Ian Cat-isâ€™ . . . sacrilege, no?
Well, yes and no. Surreal is a fan of felinesÂ and a fan of post punk bands from the North. The way she puts the two together is a loving tribute to both, painted ostensibly by her toyÂ cat. Really.
It seems unaware, a work of the unconscious. And her predilection for puns (“Love will Bear us apart” reads the caption for a pair of teddies), only amplifies the artist’s dream logic.
But theÂ remix is knowing. If you know the tragicÂ story of Joy Division, you might appreciate the irony. And if you use the world wide web much, the juxtapositionsÂ won’t surprise you.
Surreal puts together several elements. The foreground nods toÂ an iconic photo by Anton Corbijn. The decorations are an extension of a one of the greatest ever sleeve designs, by Peter Saville.
And the deity-likeÂ cat at theÂ head of thisÂ composition is also based on a photo of Ian Curtis. I canâ€™t find the shot in question, but thereâ€™s no mistaking the intensity.
In a world where boy band members can wear t-shirts proclaiming their affection for Manchester’s most dour, we are very ready for this statement of gothic cuddliness.
Thatâ€™s not to mention the Lego men who coverÂ Sheâ€™s Lost Control, the Playmobile band who cover Transmission, the Joy Division oven gloves, nor the limited edition trainers.
Epilepsy, suicide, nihilistic lyrics and a band name with fascist echoes: contemporary culture thrives off what seems least marketable. Fluffy it may be, but Toy Division is hardÂ evidence of this.
Jasmine Surreal can be seen atÂ Trispace Gallery, London, until Saturday 15 2014.
2 thoughts on “Jasmine Surreal, Toy Division (2014)”
Loving the blog post- btw the photo of Ian Curtis was taken from the October 11 issue of the NME. Its the front cover. You should be able to track it online on the NME website.
Thanks for reviewing my piece, Jasmine
Ah gotcha. Thought the pose was familiar. For anyone who’s interested, it’s here:
Thanks for clearing that up and hope the PV goes well, Mark