Magazine article Tate Etc.

John Craxton's Still Life with Cat and Child 1959

Magazine article Tate Etc.

John Craxton's Still Life with Cat and Child 1959

Article excerpt

Justin Fitzpatrick on John Craxton's Still Life with Cat and Child 1959

I waited until I was alone, until all the others had gone outside, and then I placed my paw on to the wooden floor and, with my claw, proceeded to scratch a single groove in the wood. I then added two short horizontals on to this vertical line at the top and the bottom.

I... I am... I am resurrected in this new form.

The markings down the length of my body acknowledge the accomplishments of my previous incarnation. When I lift myself on my back legs, when I stand up almost-human, one can trace a kind of glyph running up the length of my spine. It describes, for those who have eyes to see it, 'Scala Naturae', the great chain of being, a systemised hierarchy of the physical world which I myself devised: from mineral, to plant, to animal, to man, to angel, to God. A divine taxonomy. Everything in its right place.

Except now I find myself in the wrong place, the wrong body. Ugh, this body. To have your pink puckered rear parading around despite yourself and without any chance of decency. …

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