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Exhibition that takes a satirical look at the way society obsesses over food opens at Pace London
Mat Collishaw, Last Meal on Death Row, Texas (Sammie Felde Junior), 2011. C-type photographic print, frame: Red Grandis timber, rubbed back with black lacquer finish, 64.8 x 47.5 cm (25 1/2 x 18 3/5 inches), 83.5 x 65.4 x 6.5 cm (32 7/8 x 25 3/4 x 2 1/2 inches) framed. Edition 1 of 5. Edition of 5 + 1 AP.
LONDON.- Pace London presents Today’s Specials, an exhibition that takes a satirical look at the way society represents, consumes and obsesses over food. Presented on the ground floor of 6 Burlington Gardens by Abdullah AlTurki, the group exhibition features installation, sculpture, and video works, and places a strong emphasis on photography.

From the photographs of Yto Barrada, Roe Ethridge, Elad Lassry, and Sarah Lucas, to the carefully orchestrated video work of Song Dong and intricate collages of Vik Muniz, the exhibition presents works of established
luminaries alongside younger talents.

With the multiplication of food imagery in today’s media - whether it be the growing number of cuisine blogs, cooking television programmes and amateur gastronomic social media channels - Today’s Specials explores the relationship between contemporary artists and food, and examines the depiction and significance of eating habits in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Highlights of the exhibition include Song Dong’s video work Eating Landscape (2005), which belongs to the artist’s ongoing installation and performance series with food landscapes, which began in 2000, during his open studio residency at Gasworks, in London. In this work, miniature landscapes sculpted from fish and meat are slowly disrupted and consumed by the appearance of a hand and chopsticks. The lines above the food landscapes that appear to be calligraphic inscriptions of Chinese poetry are actually menus and list of ingredients featured in the artwork.

Yto Barrada’s C-print Papier Pliés (Folded Papers), figs. 1-20 (2007) recently exhibited at the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco, US (2012) is also on display. The work features folded paperworks originating from a textile factory and recycled by snack vendors as packaging for chickpeas, peanuts and sunflower seeds and found by the artist in the Pedicaris forest in Tangier, Morocco, a constant source of inspiration and subject matter for the artist. “I have a taste for the discarded, for debris, for rejectamenta […], like a child’s collection of rocks and fossils. There is beauty to the discarded things you find and transform… I think everything is useful and connections can be made between things.” *1

Keith Coventry’s Kebab Machine (1998), a kinetic bronze sculpture of a kebab machine – where a pile of processed meat continuously rotates to later be sliced into pieces for consumption – references the recurring idea in the artist’s oeuvre of the “decline of civilisation” and junk of urban life. The heroic names of warriors from Homer’s Iliad often adorn the facades of present-day kebab shops; a fact that fascinates the British artist. “In three millennia, a name had gone from some kind of noble Greek house down to a place where you could buy doner kebabs”. *2

Representing the British Pavilion at next year’s Venice Biennale, guest-invited artist Sarah Lucas is featured in Today’s Specials with Chicken Knickers (1997), a controversial work, in which she uses food as substitutes for human genitalia and thus exploring the central theme of sexual ambiguity in traditional male and female identity.

*1 Yto Barrada, JRP Ringier, (8 Nov 2011).
*2 Keith Coventry, Black Bronze, White Slaves, The Bowes Museum, The New Art Centre exhibitions, 2012.

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