It can start with a smell, a furtive image, a hazardous discovery in a market or in a friend’s kitchen. Food evokes the ability to travel through time and space and rarely leaves one indifferent. Visual artists Jhonie van Boeijen, Benjamin Li and Maarten Bel take us on a journey to their childhood memories or explore different processes related to food. Their approach varies from researching mass produced foods and their impact on labour or the environment, to acknowledging it as transmitters of cultural heritage and social connections. Either way, central to this exhibition is celebrating food’s artistic qualities, exploring new ways of thinking about consumption and considering food as an imaginative medium.
During the opening, we invite you to enjoy the new exhibition, discover the artist’s background during the bingo, converse, play food chess and then dance to digest the night.
Jhonie van Boeijen
“With the work I make I would like to offer a possibility to look at consumerism from a different perspective, how quickly can we feel the impact of international events and how does social media continuously influence and set examples for our food culture. Unconsciously this affects the way we pick our products while at the same time this grows certain demands and expectations from our supermarkets and the products that they offer. This again has an impact on the design, innovation, and marketing of new products and packaging and this in turn leads to innovation within our consumerism behaviour. This has left us stuck in an endless loop of supply and demand.
Within the products that we purchase we can tell more about the individual buying these items than what is for dinner that night. Products can tell you very personal things about the consumer, what is their background, financial status, diet, how sustainable the consumer is and even how many people the household consists of. In this way, we can look at products like a kind of personality trait that eventually will form portraits of the consumer.
In the paintings that I make I would like to engage in a conversation about individuality and identity through consumerism, but also contribute to topics such as awareness of nutrition, psychology and sustainability.”
Benjamin Li is a conceptual artist based in Rotterdam. His work pushes on questions of identity, representation, displacement, everyday life, foodways and a sense of home. He currently approaches these questions centrally through an exploration of the Chinese-Indonesian restaurant.
Since 2014, Benjamin has visited over 1.000 Chinese-Indonesian restaurants across the Netherlands in an endeavour to build an archive of this restaurant. During these visits he has collected menus, pieces of tableware and written memories of his encounters. Importantly, he has also taken photographs of over 200 unique Chinese-Indonesian dishes at these restaurants. These photographs have been developed into a 1000-piece puzzle series, into a lightbox, and into a more popularly accessible 500-piece puzzle made in collaboration with LAM museum and MAMA and a line of coffee-mugs. Related work includes a series of epoxy carrot roses, three video-installations, and a ceramic reinterpretation of the fortune cookie (residency at EKWC).
Benjamin finds beauty in the Chinese-Indonesian restaurant, but for him it is also a way to come to understand his Chinese roots and family history. Many of his family members, including his biological parents, have worked in the restaurants as a way to survive and integrate into Dutch society. With his work Benjamin tries to honour the restaurant, where others at times mock it. In earlier work, he has more broadly questioned stereotypes of Asian people (Yellow-Series). Today he sees the significance of his work in straddling the tension between bringing out the absurdity of certain stereotypes and fostering a reappraisal of the beauty and heritage of the Chinese-Indonesian restaurant.
Artist Maarten Bel hatched from an egg in 1987. He has loved animals ever since and spends most of his time questioning the status quo by pretending to be a plant or by blowing his bagpipe.
Maarten alienates his audience from their routine by addressing weighty themes in a light-hearted manner, for which he is often inspired by everyday events. In his universe climate change makes smurfs melt, picking up litter becomes a more competitive game than Monopoly, and only very few things arouse the senses as strongly as a naked man embroidering a croissant. Sometimes Maarten involves his audience in his work. They always look displeased at first, to come round later and enjoy themselves. Nine out of ten dentists agree that a kick in the nuts by Maarten Bel will make you feel reborn.
Opening event: 13th of January
The exhibition will last for 3 months
published on 11-01-2021
WORM at (Not The) Supermarket Art Fair 2020, Stockholm →
published on 11-01-2021
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