Joseph Walsh

Grotowski's Cat Exercise

5 May – 7 July 2023

'The subject lies stretched out face downwards, completely relaxed. The legs are apart and the arms at right angles to the body, palms towards the floor. The cat wakes up and draws the hands in towards the chest, keeping the elbows upwards, so that the palms of the hands form a basis for support'.

MattFlix is pleased to present Grotowski's Cat Exercise (2017) by Joseph Walsh.

The Cat is a warm up exercise by theatre director Jerzy Grotowski. The movement of a cat waking up and stretching is played out in parts, pushing the actor to physical extremes and provoking response from the whole person.  Eventually it is performed as one long movement sequence.

The film places this in the context of a person defined as a citizen, as a part of statistics, categorisations and the economy.  The exercise suggests a drop out or failure to be useful in that way, and instead be supple for other kinds of transformation than just an economic liberal one.

‘Grotowski called his theatre a laboratory; a small group of actors in absolute concentration, where the essential conditions are observed’.

Duration: 4'44"
Thanks to Michael Curran and Catherine Harrington
Captions by Stagetext.
Presented by Matt’s Gallery for MattFlix, with support from Art Fund and Arts Council England.