1999 - 2005
Materials: Steel structure, 4 recycled fruit crates, 4 laminated Lambda photographs, 14 labeled and signed jams, various cooking utensils, wheels
Dimensions: 90 x 22 x 67cm
Catalogued: Lucy + Jorge Orta: Food Water Life, Princeton Architectural Press, NY, p.59
Exhibition history: 2014 Parc de la Villette, France; 2005 Barbican Art Gallery, The Curve, UK
Courtesy: Lucy + Jorge Orta
Lucy + Jorge Orta’s interest in food was inspired by the 1996 nationwide farmers’ protest against European free market legislation authorizing the importation of low cost agricultural produce from neighbouring European countries. French farmers, fearing their livelihoods in jeopardy, dumped their entire harvest – tons and tons of fruit and vegetables – onto highways to draw attention to their plight. The artists, shocked by the sheer waste of edible food and helpless to the plight of the farmers, began visiting weekly open-air markets in Paris to collect fresh produce discarded at the end of the day and transform this into artworks.
In 1997 Orta staged a seminal exhibition Dans le Meme Panier (act I) in the Galerie St Eustache, in the heart of the former market Les Halles. For the opening event, they collected a staggering 300 kilos of discarded fruit, which was prepared by the famous Parisian chef-pâtissier Stohrer and distributed to the general public. Using the fruit and vegetable market as an example of a growing urban phenomenon, the artists went on to stage Hortirecycling Enterprise (act II) at the Weiner Secession in 1999, thus generating a broader public debate around the subject of consumer food waste and the inequalities of global food distribution.