An exhibition presented by Metal Peterborough
10 September 2016 – 4 December 2016
In preparation for BCA’s ‘An Artists’ Supper’ taking place tonight and featuring internationally renowned collaborative Lucy + Jorge Orta’s artwork ’70 x 7 The Meal’ I took the time to visit their current exhibition, Lucy + Jorge Orta: Food presented by Metal Peterborough.
As you enter the exhibition, it is the table laid out, as if in anticipation of a meal, with its bronze cast olive branch candle holders, colourful porcelain plates and bespoke silk jacquard table runners (woven by local Suffolk weavers) that I found most striking. This is the ‘70 x 7 The Meal’ series which is described as taking “the everyday ritual of dining and introduces motifs, symbolism and language into the design of bespoke porcelain plates and table runners as triggers for discussion amongst diners and catalysts for change”. Since 1997 there have been 39 meals in different locations across the world – from Mexico to Bury St Edmunds – and for each of these meals or “Act”, of which Peterborough is Act XXXIX, a new and bespoke plate is designed. The exhibition at Peterborough has for the first time presented the whole collection of Orta designed porcelain plates.
“If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him – the people who give you their food give you their heart.” – Cesar Chavez
The exhibition also featured the HortiRecycling artworks which were triggered by the 1996 protest by French farmers involving them dumping an entire year of harvest of fruit and vegetables on the motorways that the Orta’s then transformed, along with some of Paris’s finest chefs, into jams and preserves; Seeds which comprises of the artists’ Seed Bank, a collection of watercolour drawings and the Heirloom Seeds, enlarged from their drawings and produced in collaboration with the Venetian Glass maestros of Murano; and finally Bread, which was directly inspired by the Peterborough meal at which hundreds of loaves of bread were baked by locals and then cast into aluminium by the artists.
The exhibition is a cerebral exploration into our relationship with food, biodiversity, food waste, food production and communal dining – with community and collaboration positioning itself strongly within the success of the work and as a key component to catalysing the change around food that Lucy + Jorge Orta suggest.
After seeing this exhibition, I can’t wait for tonight!