Today’s Specials at Pace London
Open any magazine, visit any bookshop or library, spend five minutes online and there it is – food, glorious food. Pace London presents Today’s Specials, a satirical exhibition cooked up in order to explore the consumerist, hedonistic attitude we have in the first world towards food. Photography takes a leading role, with work from Yto Barrada, Roe Ethridge, Elad Lassry and Sarah Luca, diversifying the palate with sculpture, Vik Muniz’s detailed collages and a mute, surreal short film by Song Dong (Eating Landscape, 2005).
What draws the exhibition together isn’t just the focus on the food culture of the 20th and 21st centuries, but also the uncomfortably detached approach of the artists towards their subjects. The opening exhibit, Yto Barrad’s Papier Plies (Folded Papers), is the most discreet piece on offer – a collection of folded paperworks that were recycled for use by snack vendors as packaging for their product. The artist comments that he finds “beauty to the discarded things you find and transform” – a sentiment that is jarred sharply upon encountering Ethridge’s Coke Can, a photograph of an unopened, broken can of Coca Cola upon a shell littered beach, the plastic wound around the rim in sharp focus, and an unsettling comparison to the wholesome Bonne Maman Jar by the same artist that mirrors it in colour and structural composition across the gallery.
Definitely the most rudely invasive piece on offer is the sculpture by Oldenburg/van Bruggen, Leaning Fork with Meatball and Spaghetti – pretty much eponymous, but with an undercurrent of sexuality in the smooth curves of the cartoon fork, and almost pornographic in the exaggerated colours, the engorged meatball reminiscent of a brain and the paint glossy in a way that evokes thoughts of sweat, fat and gluttony. Hidden down a small corridor, the short film by Song Dong plays soundlessly – literal art consumerism laid bare on the screen, with a landscape hewn from meat and fish heads eaten in unsettling silence by disembodied hands wielding chopsticks.
The exhibition is stuffed full of satire, opulence and censure – get your fill before it’s too late.
Today’s Specials is on at Pace London until 6th September 2014, for further information visit here.