The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Friday, November 17, 2017


Food for Thought: Proyectos Monclova opens exhibition of works by Raúl Ortega Ayala
Installation view of Food for Thought, PROYECTOSMONCLOVA, Mexico City, 2017. Courtesy of Raúl Ortega Ayala and PROYECTOSMONCLOVA. Photo: Rodrigo Viñas.

by Kim Córdova


MEXICO CITY.- To eat is to respond to need in the form of hunger and desire in the form of appetite. In Food for Thought Raúl Ortega Ayala serves up a visceral response to scenes of the gastronomically grotesque that occurs when alimentary consumption is decoupled from the need much less desire for food. The result of a three year long anthropological-like process of embedding himself in the food business, Ortega Ayala revels in the ecstatic psychology of action disassociated from reason, and offers the body as sensory receptor of the pleasures derived from the “gustatory abject”1.

Cultural identity consolidates as much around notions of taste as it dœs around dis-taste, since in consecrating the sacred we simultaneously define the profane. The concept of taste is an ever-evolving reflection of social values; thus, it is a moving and wholly abstracted target around which collective agreement is sought to achieve social cohesion with the purpose of distinguishing the erudite from uncouth.

The preposterousness of the aspiration to consolidate “good taste”—literally or metaphorically—into a single sazón is reflected in Ortega Ayala’s Bable Fat Tower. In fat and bones he has constructed a replica of the mythic tower painted in 1563 by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, which he has left under hot stage lamps to slouch into an acrid puddle. Certainly there is a macabre delight in witnessing the biblical symbol of humanity’s arrogance collapse in slow motion under the weight of it’s own hubris. In emphasizing the process of pathetic demise of the archetypal tower, the piece suggests the boom but also emphasizes the bust cycles of human civilization. Though the specific reasons for individual rises and falls of social orders may be morally or politically charged, the cycles that they together comprise are morally indifferent.

A natural reaction of frustration at the incapacity of such cycles to account for morality galvanizes Ortega Ayala’s Melting Pots. After the viewer moves through a labyrinthine presentation of September 11 ephemera, the artist presents a replica of a buffet for the public to eat modeled after one served at the Windows on the World restaurant that crowned Twin Tower Building One in New York. The food is presented on servingware sold by companies whose goods are produced from salvaged metal, including scrap that was sourced from Ground Zero debris. The uncertainty of the material’s origins leaves the question open ended, focusing on the cycle of debris, rather than fetishizing a specific horror. We are left to wonder, how many meals have been cooked, what nourishment or nibble has been served up in pots and pans smelted from other unknown atrocities? Yet, why should we expect the cycle of scrap metal to be more morally aware than any other systemic cycles? Has the water we drink witnessed less abomination than these plates?

Whereas the frustration that Melting Pots may invoke questions the appropriate response to horror and abjection, Ortega Ayala’s video works Tomatina-Tim and Untitled (Cheese Rolling), find ecstatic catharsis in their grotesque revelation.

Tomatina-Tim juxtaposes a solitary competitive gurgitator2 inhaling Nathan’s restaurant (of Coney Island hotdog eating contest fame) franks and soggy buns two by two with scenes of the heaving mob of shirtless tourists tearing at one another in the annual Tomatina tomato fight in Buñol, Spain. In Untitled (Cheese Rolling), men in Gloucester, England careen “ass over teakettle” racing one another to catch a cheese wheel rolling down Cooper’s Hill in an annual tradition that villagers say dates back to Roman or perhaps even Phœnician times.

There is a temptation to excuse these grotesque performances as contemporary manifestations of ancient pagan celebrations of perhaps fertility cum bounty—as though a traceable link to mythic paganism would sufficiently sugar-coat abjection to be comfortably palatable. The twist, however, in Tomatina-Tim and Untitled (Cheese Rolling) is that there is no spiritual raison d’etre. The excess of food is a celebratory red herring. These events persist as traditions perhaps simply because they tap into human hunger to delight in taboo, because to achieve jouissance in the muck is to feel alive.

Headless exuberance after all serves a function, filth and all. Like a ritual in reverse, the madness drives out the demons precisely by giving in to them. In the small town of Buñol, once the tourists are gone, the acid of the tomatœs leaves the plaza clean.


1 Nun Halloran, Vivian, Biting Reality: Extreme Eating and the Fascination with the Gustatory Abject, Iowa Journal of Cultural Studies 4, The University of Iowa, 2004.

2 Gurgitator is the preferred term for a competitive eater by the Major League Eating Federation.






Today's News

May 14, 2017

With pomp and parties, Austria marks Maria Theresa's 300th birthday

The Vancouver Art Gallery unveils Emily Carr exhibition

German artist Imhof wins Venice Golden Lion

Harvard Art Museums acquires contemporary photo collection

A drawing by Sir Peter Lely is expected to create a sensation at auction

Exhibition is the first to critically and fully explore David Smith's use of the color white

Complete set of Robert Indiana's 'ONE through ZERO' on view for the first time at the Glass House

Green light: An artistic workshop by Olafur Eliasson opens in Venice

Bertoia's to offer magnificent array of toys, banks, dolls, doorstops and country store antiques

Immersive two-person exhibition featured in the South African Pavilion

Japanese Pavilion in Venice presents a selection of three-dimensional works by Takahiro Iwasaki

Global crises meets peaceful culture clash in Azerbaijan Pavilion

ROM Press catalogue celebrates Weinberg Cherry collection of Judaica at the Museum

New, site-specific installation by Gal Weinstein on view at the Israeli Pavilion

Super Thangkas sail away at Bonhams Asian Art Week London sales

Cranbrook Art Museum exhibition features work from alumni and artists-in-residence

'Rock, Paper, Scissors: Positions in Play' is United Arab Emirates' exhibition for the Venice Biennale

New Zealand presents multi-media artist Lisa Reihana at the 57th International Art Exhibition

Thierry Goldberg opens exhibition of new paintings by Naudline Pierre

Five paintings by Fritz Bultman will come up for bid June 3rd at Bruneau & Co.

Food for Thought: Proyectos Monclova opens exhibition of works by Raúl Ortega Ayala

Karen LaMonte unveils monumental works in the Glasstress exhibition during the Biennale

June Kelly Gallery opens exhibition of new paintings by Nola Zirin

PIASA to offer a rare collection of rugs and tapestries from the 16th to 18th century

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- Grasshopper found embedded in van Gogh masterpiece at Nelson-Atkins

2.- Scientists discover a mysterious, plane-sized 'void' in Great Pyramid in Egypt

3.- The largest collection of Viking artifacts on display in North America comes to the Royal Ontario Museum

4.- Rafael Soriano opens at Frost Art Museum FIU: Kicks off Miami's Art Basel season

5.- Cleveland Museum of Art releases new strategic plan

6.- Exhibition tells the story of the artists who fled to Britain to escape war in France

7.- Zahi Hawass criticises pyramid void 'discovery'

8.- French court to rule on Nazi-looted Pissarro painting

9.- Clark Art Institute exhibition studies less-explored aspects of Impressionist works

10.- Exhibitions in Germany and Switzerland present works from the Gurlitt Estate



Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 

Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez


Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org avemariasound.org juncodelavega.com facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful