Who among us doesn’t stop to look at pet videos and memes online? Thinking about this behaviour lies at the heart of Lydia Blakeley’s Reflections 1 (Copycat). While she depicts a cat (or is that three cats?) in the bathroom, discovering reflections in a variety of mirrors, she is also encouraging us to consider how our consumption of social content ricochets between serious political and social information and daft cat videos.
During the lockdowns, Blakeley frequently came across images of cats looking into magnifying mirrors. “I feel they somehow encapsulate the sense of isolation, contemplation, and perhaps the hopelessness that I, along with so many, have felt over the past few years,” she says.
Reflections 1 (Copycat) explores isolation within the domestic space and the distraction of memes. Blakeley freely admits to saving multiple images of pets, and diving into a TikTok wormhole of animal videos, but also acknowledges that social media is home to deeply serious content alongside the frivolous. “There is this dichotomy between the stream of social and political information dotted amongst videos or photos of cats,” she says.
“I feel they encapsulate the sense of isolation, contemplation, and perhaps the hopelessness that I have felt over the past few years”
Blakeley is really interested in the distribution and consumption of imagery. In real-life galleries, though, she says, “often there comes a point where the sheer amount of paintings is almost overwhelming”. Instead of photographing complete works, she finds herself recording the animals inhabiting the paintings. “I love the character of these creatures,” she explains, “and it almost mirrors the way I felt I was consuming imagery of animals through the internet.”
Lydia Blakeley is a graduate of Leeds College of Art and Goldsmiths. She has exhibited in London and Los Angeles, and has a show at Southwark Park Gallery in July. This print is available in a strictly limited edition of 50.