Sami Schlichting at Lucas Hirsch

Artist: Sami Schlichting

Exhibition title: Jokes to run a Family

Venue: Lucas Hirsch, Düsseldorf, Germany

Date: May 11 – July 5, 2018

Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Lucas Hirsch, Düsseldorf

In “The Cat Concerto” a stage is set in an auditorium. In a formal concert, Tom, a piano virtuoso, is giving a piano recital of “Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2” by Franz Liszt. Jerry, who is sleeping inside the piano, is rudely awakened by the hammers, then sits on top of the piano to mock the cat by “conducting” him. Tom flicks Jerry off the piano. Tom continues playing without any interruptions.

Jerry arises from under one of the keys. Tom plays tremolo on this key, knocking Jerry on the head, and then Jerry runs back and forth underneath. Tom smashes the mouse under the keys, plays the main theme of the rhapsody, and when Tom lifts his two fingers from playing a trill, the piano continues playing. He looks over the edge of the piano and spots Jerry playing the felts from inside. To quiet him, he whacks Jerry with a tuning tool. Jerry slams the piano lid onto Tom’s fingers. Tom still plays, and then Jerry pops out on the far right of the piano to attempt to cut Tom’s finger with a pair of scissors as he plays a note from the very highest minor third of the piano. After the sixth miss, Jerry pants from this effort, and then substitutes a mousetrap for the white keys just below it. Tom plays the keys on either side for a few seconds but eventually, Tom’s finger gets caught in the trap.

Jerry prances up and down on the piano, upon which Tom climbs and proceeds to play with his feet. As Tom gets back down to play with his fingers, Jerry dances around on the felts, momentarily changing the tune from the rhapsody to “On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe”. Tom then plays a chord where the mouse is bounced repeatedly, receiving rude gestures in return, and eventually catches the mouse and stows him into the piano stool. Jerry then crawls out of an opening and manipulates the seat’s controls, cranking it up, and sending it crashing down, causing Tom to get his head covered in his clothes and then land on the keys.

Tom stuffs Jerry into the felts and then goes crazy on the piano, going back to the rhapsody. The felts take on a life of their own, bashing Jerry about, spanking him, and squashing him to and throw. Eventually, Jerry gets squashed and comes out, very angry about this, and then breaks off some felts as his sticks and plays the finale of the rhapsody in one last retaliation. Jerry constantly increases the speed of his playing, plays two false endings, and generally taunts him, such that Tom is left with raggedy clothes and collapses at the end of the tune. The audience then applauds for the performance, and Jerry takes the praise for himself by bowing to the audience as a spotlight shines on him.

Sami Schlichting, Jokes to run a Family, 2018, exhibition view, Lucas Hirsch, Düsseldorf

Sami Schlichting, Jokes to run a Family, 2018, exhibition view, Lucas Hirsch, Düsseldorf

Sami Schlichting, Jokes to run a Family, 2018, exhibition view, Lucas Hirsch, Düsseldorf

Sami Schlichting, Eternal, 2018, Clay, feathers, steel, styrofoam, acrylic, 200 x 65 x 55 cm

Sami Schlichting, Jokes to run a Family, 2018, exhibition view, Lucas Hirsch, Düsseldorf

Sami Schlichting, Jokes to run a Family, 2018, exhibition view, Lucas Hirsch, Düsseldorf

Sami Schlichting, Jokes to run a Family, 2018, exhibition view, Lucas Hirsch, Düsseldorf

Sami Schlichting, Recurring Beholds, 2018, Straw, clay, sand, acrylic, 58 x 34 x 6 cm

Sami Schlichting, Inmate Monumental, 2018, Straw, clay, glue, 40 x 30 x 22 cm

Sami Schlichting, Pat the Playful Pig, 2018, Straw, clay, sand, acrylic, wire, glue, foam, 138 x 60 x 28 cm

Sami Schlichting, Surprise in Bedtime, 2018, Clay, woodchip, 28 x 63 x 23 cm

Sami Schlichting, Atlas de Remedy, 2018, Clay, woodchip, 42 x 46 x 20 cm

Sami Schlichting, Eternal, 2018, Clay, feathers, steel, styrofoam, acrylic, 200 x 65 x 55 cm

Sami Schlichting, To Reject a Smile, 2018, Straw, clay, sand, styrofoam, wire, glue, zip ties, acrylic, spray paint, wood, 140 x 75 x 40 cm

Sami Schlichting, Soft Values, 2018, Clay, 27 x 30 x 25 cm

Sami Schlichting, Sorry Slaine, 2018, Straw, glue, acrylic, clay, feathers, wood, angle brackets, 155 x 65 x 27 cm

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