Fascinated by the artificially coloured photographs of Tutankhamun’s tumb, Shinji Otani attempts to reproduce in his own pictures this feeling of added reality brought by the application of colour on black and white, which gives the archeological site the aspect of a familiar place, a more intimate and contemporary quality.
Before dedicating himself to photograph, Shinji Otani was a ceramicist, and he undeniably has a particular sensitivity to objects and to their relation with their surroundings. His aim is thus to define the identity of a place by putting into light the relation between this place and the objects that fill it.
Otani didn’t proceed differently for Neko Project: in these pictures, cats are no more nonchalant or playful animals, they are a moderno-Egyptian sculpture, a kitsch backrest, models for strange paintings, between naive prettiness and a somewhat tacky humour. These objects blend into their surrounding, like an actual cat would curl up on a comfortable sofa, in a cosy drawing room. Otani photographs representations of cats rather than real ones, and this mise en abyme of the subject gives a great depth to the picture, implicity evoking, with much wit, the fascination of men for cats.
© Shinji Otani