HortiRecycling, Act II - Conservation Unit
Materials: Steel trolley, salvaged fruit crates, laminated C-print, glass shelf, 8 wicker baskets, 2 digital audio recordings, 2 headphones, 24 labeled and signed jams
Dimensions: 80 x 48 x 155cm
Catalogued: Lucy + Jorge Orta: Food Water Life, Princeton Architectural Press, NY, pp 54-55
Exhibition history: 2012 Tufts University Art Gallery, USA; 2009 Plymouth Arts Centre, UK; 2005 Barbican Art Gallery, The Curve, UK
Courtesy: Lucy + Jorge Orta
The Food series unfolds over a number of years in what the artists term, 'acts'. The first act, All in One Basket, points a finger at local consumer waste and the inequalities of global food distribution. Using the fruit and vegetable markets in Paris as an example of a growing urban phenomenon, this public artwork was able to generate debate around the broader subject.
In 1997, Lucy + Jorge Orta hosted an open-air buffet in one of the busiest central shopping district of Les Halles in Paris, made with discarded fruit salvaged from local fruit and vegetable markets. With over three hundred kilograms of ripe produce that they had gleaned from the local markets, the famous Parisian pâtissier Stohrer, prepared and cooked a variety of sweet dishes. Samples of jams, jellies, and puddings were available to taste for free, and visitors could buy souvenir editions of bottled and labeled preserves. During the course of the day, thousands of people stopped by, including members of the art community, shoppers, children, tramps, students, and immigrants. In the adjacent gallery of Saint Eustache, an installation of artifacts constructed from wooden fruit crates, and displayed the homemade preserves in mini-jars with photographs of mounds of discarded market produce. The installation also included Storage Units, a series of trolleys with baskets symbolising the collecting of the produce, which were outfitted with a sound system playing the audio recordings of interviews with the community of gleaners at the weekly markets.