Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

Cute, or Something 

Wednesday, Dec 22 2010
No one has gone broke overestimating alt-culture’s appetite for cutesy images of anthropomorphic creatures. Given the bustling market for adorable cryptids, chatty birds, and coffee-swilling bears, the craft fair aesthetic threatens to devolve into precious, saccharine kitsch. While we’re not immune to the charms of art that suggests Maurice Sendak by way of Adobe Illustrator, its rare that the stuff has anything to say. Katya Bonnenfant’s work could be initially mistaken for sharing this oddly empty aesthetic, but there’s a provocative subtext to her work that clearly separates it from its ilk. Despite the immediate sense of whimsy and humor evoked by her multimedia pieces, closer inspection reveals affecting cartoon characters at war with one another in familiar yet uncanny settings. Her exhibition, “La Destitution de la jeune fille” (for non-Francophiles, “The Deposition of the Young Girl”), takes inspiration from the late-’90s French anarchist writing collective Tiqqun, which argued that the contemporary notion of the young girl was a potent vector for examining the emptiness of capitalist life. Bonnenfant’s creatures battle in a consumerist wasteland, in thrall of this pervasive ideal. It’s pretty heady stuff if you go deep, but fortunately her work can be appreciated on multiple levels, not only as an intellectual abstraction but also as unexpected provocation.
Oct. 14-Jan. 9, 2010

About The Author

Paul M. Davis


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed
  1. Most Popular


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"