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Installations made entirely of sugar and salt in Ken + Julia's first UK solo show at GV Art
Ken + Julia Yonetani, Sweet Barrier Reef (detail), Sugar, 2009, 1.4 x 8.5 x 3.7 in metres. © Image courtesy of the artists and GV Art.


LONDON.- Sense of Taste at GV Art by Ken and Julia Yonetani is inspired by the 1618 painting by Jan Brueghel the Elder of the same name. One of a series on the five senses, it depicts a new world based on unfettered consumption of luxury goods, at a time when expanding markets, colonisation and agricultural revolutions were feeding the increasingly lavish and abundant tables of the European upper class. Nearly 400 years later, Ken and Julia Yonetani’s Sense of Taste ponders our obsession with sensual and material pleasures, reconnecting our sense of taste to the environmental impacts of what is on the dinner table. The exhibition comprises two main works, Sweet Barrier Reef and Still Life, the first made out of sugar and the second made entirely from salt. Both works explore ideas of human desire, colonialism, a culture of hedonism, and global food security, as well as reconnect us back to a spiritual world of nature and magic.

Sweet Barrier Reef focuses on the event of bleaching coral — the process leading to coral death. River waters containing high levels of suspended sediment (nitrogen, phosphorus and herbicides) cause coral death and bleaching. This sediment often comes from harvesting sugarcane, and is known to be one factor leading to bleaching in the Great Barrier Reef.

Still Life: The Food Bowl brings us back to the environmental cost of agricultural production and links up with historical associations of salt — as a powerful, sacred substance that maintains life by enabling food preservation, but also induces the death of ecosystems. Salinity is a major problem for the Murray-Darling basin, known as Australia's 'food bowl' as it produces up to 90 per cent of Australia's domestic fresh food.

‘If revolt is to come, it will have to come from the five senses’, Michel Serres





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Installations made entirely of sugar and salt in Ken + Julia's first UK solo show at GV Art

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