MORENA FORTINO ANSWERS THE KITTEN LIFE QUESTIONNAIRE
Morena Fortino and I came into contact via a bizarre comment exchange on my personal Instagram account.
Morena's now infamous photo, La Chatte, has been re-posted by Behati Prinsloo, Diane Kruger, Jerry Salts (the art critic for New York Magazine) and dozens of other high-profile art accounts, celebrities and brands. It's a heart-warming, yet cheeky capture of the pussy/kitten, female/feline, symbolism, which she terms a "sensual coincidence" that arouses a "mix of wonder and malice" in the viewer, and leaves you with a smile.
Featuring her gorgeous curves and the fluffy body of her cat, Yang ( who she describes as a "total diva!"), it resonates on many levels for many people, including the woman who stumbled upon my repost of the image. A special lady who commented a half-dozen times with convoluted assertions that the image actually belonged to a young Australian model, who happens to be her ex-lover's daughter. I responded by tagging Morena in my reply that no, it's definitely not, and Morena herself then swooped in to confirm her ownership. The woman swiftly deleted her comments and blocked my page (???), and Morena and I were left private messaging about the strangeness of humanity. This lead to the feature you're currently reading with her answers to The Kitten Life Questionnaire, so things tend to work out for a reason, no?
Morena is a cat-loving Italian whose art is inspired by nature, dreams and religious iconography, along with her southern Italian roots - a land of ancestral mysteries.
La Chatte is an international sensation so of course I was curious about how the well-deserved, albeit disproportionate success of this singular image has impacted her overall artistic vision and life path.
In Morena's words, she's happy with the attention it's brought to her other work. It has also given her a new sense of responsibility for what she creates and presents to the world, and some positive pressure to constantly raise the bar, which is never a bad thing. And yes, she is still proud of the work despite it being re-posted without credit, re-purposed for other people's financial gain, and otherwise been removed from her ownership as the artist.
Looking forward, Morena is currently working on a project called "fantastic bestiary" (images below) that she hopes to make into an art book.
She's recently purchased a new home and is completing renovations with the goal of carving out beautiful spaces in which to do art, create a life with her partner, and have friends and fellow artists over for coffee. We hope to join her to indulge in our caffeine and Italian food vices one day.
Morena's answers to The Kitten Life Questionnaire, in both English and Italian, are below for you to enjoy.
The Kitten Life Questionnaire x Morena Fortino
1. What is your present state of mind? / Qual è il tuo attuale stato d'animo?
Calm. / Sono serena.
2. What’s your sign? / Qual è il tuo segno?
Taurus. / Toro.
3. What is your favourite vice? / Qual è il tuo vizio preferito?
Italian food. Pasta. / Il cibo italiano. La pasta.
4. Puppies or kittens? / Cuccioli o gattini?
Kittens. / Gattini.
5. What is your most prized possession? / Qual è il tuo bene più prezioso?
My family. / La mia famiglia.
6. If you could be any plant what would you be? / Se potessi essere una pianta, quale saresti?
An herb garden. / Il giardino dei semplici. (Un giardino di erbe officinali)
7. What is your idea of perfect happiness? / Qual è la tua idea di perfetta felicità?
Laying in a hammock in Aranceto, Italy, when the flowers are in full bloom. / Un'amaca in un Aranceto durante la fioritura.
8. What’s the first thing you would buy if you moved into a new space? / Qual è la prima cosa che compreresti se ti trasferissi in un nuovo spazio?
A large dining room table to host friends. / Una grande tabolo per ospitare gli amici.
9. What is your favourite colour? / Qual è il tuo colore preferito?
Light blue. / Azzurro.
10. If you could teleport at exactly this moment, where would you go? / Se potessi teletrasportarti esattamente in questo momento, dove andresti?
To a spa in the Alps. / In un centro benessere sulle Alpi.
11. What’s your recurring dream/nightmare? / Qual è il tuo sogno / incubo ricorrente?
That I'm back in school having to take a test. / Che Ritorno a scuola in un compito in classe.
12. What piece of art has made an impression on you? / Quale pezzo d'arte ti ha fatto impressione?
A piece by Yayoi Kusama that I saw once in Rome. / Un lavoro di Yayoi Kusama visto a Roma.
13. What’s the most romantic experience you’ve had? / Qual è l'esperienza più romantica che hai avuto?
When the man I love proposed to spend the rest of our lives together. / Una proposta di vita insieme dall'uomo che amo.
14. What is the smell of sex? / Qual è l'odore del sesso?
The smell of wine. / L'odore del vino.
15. What do you wish you could relive? / Cosa vorresti rivivere?
When I was 16. / I Miei 16 anni.
16. What is consciousness? / Che cos'è la coscienza?
Being present. / Essere presenti a se stessi.
17. Who do you most admire? / Chi ammiri di più?
Marcello Mastroianni. Monica Vitti... lots of people... / Marcello Mastroianni. Monica Vitti... Ce ne sono tanti...
18. What is your advice for future generations? / Qual è il tuo consiglio per le generazioni future?
Do not stop trying, do not stop learning. / Non smettere di provare, non smettere di studiare.
19. What is the meaning of life? / Qual è il significato della vita?
We'll find out at the end... / Lo scopriremo alla fine...