Caroline Schattling Villeval
When a frog meets a dog

Caroline Schattling Villeval, When a frog meets a dog, animation video, loop, 5′, 2024

At the bottom of an almost dry lake, frogs are gathered around a puddle. Their movements, slowed down and almost imperceptible, bring life to this deserted landscape. A dog appears. Imposing, his body extends beyond the frame. His walk sets off a panoramic, moving shot. 

Thus begins Caroline Schattling Villeval’s video When a frog meets a dog, produced for her exhibition Carences et toute-puissance1. This new piece functions as a continuation of her installation good boy (Hasch, Marseille, 2023) which revolved around the fictional text Vie/Chienne, that explores the question of domination arising from a non-consensual interaction between a person and a dog with a wandering tongue2. Once again, the animal is one of the main protagonists of Caroline Schattling Villeval’s video When a frog meets a dog, this time alongside a group of frogs. 

With his massive, slender body and golden fur, the dog, animated by Caroline Schattling Villeval, moves forward in a menacing manner. He appears to be indifferent to everything, including the amphibians which have come together to stop his march. Piled up in the shape of a column, they form a mass in front of this manifestation of almighty power. The counter-power embodied in the group’s strength is swept away, pushed aside by a paw. It’s not strong enough. A crushing failure even: it’s raining frogs. They splash into the exhibition space, contaminating the room. The almighty power triumphs over the collective strength. End of the story. However, in Caroline Schattling Villeval’s work, the power dynamics also manifest themselves in an underlying manner through the technical process. A dog, frogs, a 3D-modelled bestiary bought online like one would adopt a pet: an act of domination. Then comes the computer, far from functioning autonomously as the artist manipulates her virtual puppets through an animation software. Finally, the dog, never fully visible, dominates the frogs as well as the space. The dog, the first animal species domesticated by Man – its « best friend » –, that Caroline Schattling Villeval has trained to perform its own dance. The image is replayed in a loop, but who’s calling the shots? When a frog meets a dog is a canvas onto which power dynamics are superimposed in infinite layers.

1. In parallel with her exhibition at the Centre d’édition contemporaine, Caroline Schattling Villeval presents StéréoMimicryat the Salle Crosnier, Palais de l’Athénée, from January 12 to February 10, 2024.
2. Vie/Chienne was written by Caroline Schattling Villeval in 2023 for [SWISS] Weird & Magic #1, forthcoming publication by éditions Clinamen.

Born in 1995 in Zürich, Caroline Schattling Villeval lives and works in Geneva. Her work has been exhibited in various venues in Switzerland and abroad in solo shows such as : StéréoMimicry, Salle Crosnier, Geneva (12.01–10.02.2024) ; good boy, Hasch, Marseille (2023) ; No firing, with Paul Paillet, Espace 3353, Carouge (2021) ; Chiara Chiara Chiara, Zabriskie Point, Geneva (2020) ; Being fucked, Lokal-int, Biel (2020). She has also taken part in several group exhibitions, including: Basel Social Club with Joyfully waiting, Basel (2023) ; MINIMIRACLES, Sonnenstube, Lugano (2023) ; Bourses déliées – Arts Visuels, Halle Nord, Geneva (2022); Prix Kiefer Hablitzel, Art Basel, Basel (2022) Esprit d’Escalier, with Paul Paillet, Centre d’édition contemporaine, Geneva (2022) ; Plaisirs Minuit, Forde as part of the Fesse-tival, Geneva (2022) ; Peeping through the looking glass, Set Space, London (2021) ; Fotoromanza, Le Commun, Geneva (2021) ; Silicon Malley, Prilly (2020) ; Weaving home, Limbo Space, Geneva (2020).

This project is sponsored by the Federal Office of Culture and the Republic and the Canton of Geneva.