During his residency at BCA Aaron Head drew on his immediate environment to generate an intriguing project that combined the mediums of sculpture, installation and film to further explore his preoccupation with food and drink and their intricate social role in contemporary, multicultural Britain.
Food and drink are recurrent tools in Head’s armoury. His work retraces historical paths of trade and distribution, identifying particular facts that both inform and occasionally challenge the social rituals that we perform in relation to food today. Head has said in relation to his work, “I am interested in how we all use food and drink to identify ourselves and our community and this can range from a particular brand of lager or the history and usage of ginger in British cooking”. Head speaks of a democratic and social approach to making art where nothing is clear and all is malleable and moveable. This approach can be likened to the history of many food products, trade and cultural identity. There is a clear avoidance of political posturing or explicit meaning. The meanings are wrapped up and layered in the surreal narratives of his everyday stage sets, performances and films.
This is certainly true of one of Head’s film pieces ‘Terrace.’ In this subtle intervention of Bedford’s High Steet, a small model of a typical terrace house constructed from sliced white bread was placed on the pavement during a normal busy lunch hour. The house adopted a cute sense of domesticity and home life, which is a stark contrast of the hustle and bustle that surrounds it, making it appear threatened and vulnerable. As members of the public, prod the house, film it with their mobile phones and even stamp on it, viewers are reminded of our own endeavours for privacy and security. The work was reproduced with Naan and Ciabbatta bread.
Fundamentally in Head’s work is the desire to highlight history as neither linear or purposeful but cyclical and accidental. Continuous accidents of history evolve and define us culturally. The identity he offers us ebbs and flows like the rivers and markets in his
imagery. In many ways Head understands the seriousness of cultural identity, relishes its humour and glorifies the beauty of difference.