Exhibition Paper, BMOCA

Katerina Kapodistrias

ARTH 3539

Exhibition Paper

Due: April 30th, 2012

Museum Visited: BMoca


I recently visited the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art in the exhibition entitled Edible? and I was pleased to see many great works. The whole museum displays the works of two great artists: Viviane Le Courtois with Edible? This is the largest portion of works of art in the museum on the first level, and Jason Rogenes with Spacecraft that also has some of his work shown in the upper level of the museum. These two artists have very different work and it was great to experience a little alteration in a sense. I am going to share some of the pieces I thought were profoundly interesting, but also I’m going to talk about some to a great extent in more detail.

Viviane Le Courtois is an artist that has worked with food as a medium and has been a cause of inspiration in her art pieces for about twenty-two years. Viviane Le Courtois was born in France in 1969 and has been living currently in the United States since 1994 in Denver Colorado. She received her MFA in Sculpture/Installation from the International School of Art and Research in Nice, France in 1992 and an MA in Art History from the University of Denver in 2000. She has done many exhibitions in the U.S and in Europe.

Her current exhibition Edible? At BMoca Is installed all over the first floor, from right when you enter the Museum where you get welcomed with her fascinating interactive installation piece titled: ‘The Garden of Earthy Delights’, on the very left wall space her series of etching prints are installed, and it continues to the very back where the rest of the works are installed such as the ‘Little Fat Kids’, ‘Shane the Obese Marshmallow Teenager’, the ‘Cheetovore’, ‘Venus of Consumption’, ‘Pickles’, ‘Candy Curtains’, ‘Apple cores’, but also some performance pieces in which one is shown on video and some photographs, while performing as documentation, but also more pieces of materials that were left from other performances that she did.

Starting with the installation of Viviane Le Courtois, right when you enter the Museum, titled: ‘The Garden of Earthy Delights’ 2012, is a large installation in which needs a certain process in order to be completed, since it is a living interactive installation for the viewer to participate in. The materials that are used in this installation were: ceramic cups, edible garden green plants, herbs, sprouts, felt bags, and rugs made by recycled t-shirts collected from friends. Since her installation is right when you enter the Museum, the employers of the Museum explain to you the process while telling you to take one of the ceramic cups that are located in these older styles of wooden stacked shelve-like holders that are stacked on top of each other and they provide hot water for you. The ceramic cups were inspired by the chai cups they use in India, where they are low-fired and supposed to be quite fragile that you drink from the cup once and when you’re done you throw it away, where it just dissolves.

While this installation is a living interactive piece, it is also a piece that changes over the time of the exhibit, since people are supposed to pick the herbs they prefer, drink it, while it is also designed for people to hang out, think and interact with each other,  amongst the plants that are surrounding them though sitting on the rug made from old collections of friends t-shirts, and when they’re done they’re supposed to throw the ceramic cup against the large white wall that is located on the right side wall of the Museum. When I visited the Museum the space where you were supposed to throw the ceramic cup against the wall was already an amazing installation of its own, where you see the brownish red marks of the ceramic cup that was thrown and on the floor a large pile of uniquely broken ceramics, pilling against the bottom wall and abstractedly spread on the floor. It truly looked wonderful as a whole, especially the white wall with all the marks, it looked as a painting itself, where I thought it could have been a very powerful piece even if it was separate from the earlier process of picking the herb’s and garden greens and consuming them. I got much more thrilled with the process of breaking the ceramic cup, and the way it looked with the marks on the wall and the remaining’s of the broken ceramic than the entire installation piece as a whole, but also about how these remaining’s and marking on the wall that looked as a painting were created by all the viewers and participants that have been in this exhibition. It creates a type of mystery in this specific part of the piece, as we will never know who were the other people that marked they’re sign on the wall of being there and participating in this masterpiece.

‘The Garden of Earthy Delights’ 2012, was an installation piece that was established from experimentation, investigation and encounters. It is grounded on ecological ways of producing art, food and handmade objects, while recycling, collecting, growing, transforming and accommodating the unexpected and surprising challenges of an evolving life that is created and is a huge part of this installation piece. One of Viviane Le Courtois statements in the Museum said: “The process of growing plants, collecting and eating them with others is ancient and sometimes forgotten”.

Most of the other pieces that are shown in BMoca after the ‘The Garden of Earthy Delights’ are more playful and contain much more color and are a little more bizarre but genius at the same time in terms of her use of materials. In her next few pieces, she uses a lot of colorful candy and it was a really fun and surprising experience to see what she had done with them. Her piece titled ‘Shane the Obese Marshmallow Teenager’ 2006, was a wire mesh covered with paper mashe figure that on the exterior were glued colored marshmallows all over. In this fun large scale figure sculpture as well as in ‘Cheetovore’ 2002, another sculpture of hers made out of paper mache that was a more abstract hanging sculpture that is all over glued with Cheetos, as well as in ‘Venus of Consumption’ a knitted sculpture of an obese woman, and her ‘Candy Curtains’ 2008 piece that is created of different kind of attached candy on fishing line, we see how she combines junk food and explores the processes of consumption, the social implications of eating and the repetitive aspects of food preparation.

Now moving on the second floor of the Museum, while going up the stairs you immediately get greeted overwhelmingly by Jason Rogenes’s amazing installation ‘Spacecraft’ 2012. This is a site specific installation made by the materials of EPS foam inserts, cardboard and electrical components. Jason Rogenes was born in 1971 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and now lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. He received his MFA from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1996 and his BA from the University of California in San Diego in 1993. Jason Rogenes has been working with polystyrene known as Styrofoam for more than ten years.

Starting from the stair wall the whole space, walls and ceiling are covered with cardboard two dimensional geometric shapes in a combination with the same cardboard geometrical three dimensional sharp and pointy shapes coming out of the wall. In the middle of the space hanging is the spacecraft made of foam in which he carved piece by piece individually and assembled into this amazing structure. He states that “Polystyrene and cardboard are symbols of our consumer culture” and that he treats his material with such care as if the material he was using was marble. The reason he creates these large scale installations is to take the viewer in an otherworldly environment that is intended to transport them into an outer space using pedestrian resources and for the audience to look at everything in the environment beyond assigned occupations and restrictions but also to reimaging ourselves in other boundless opportunities.

On the other side of the wall there is this drawing of Jason Rogenes that is conceptually related to his sculpture work. The drawing represents a two dimensional interpretation of his sculptural work and is executed in ink and watercolor on a large scale paper that I would guess was three feet horizontally to about eight feet vertically.

Both of these artists in this exhibition, even though very different from each other in the sense of meaning in their work, but both very similar in using materials that are not necessarily expensive and sometimes are recyclable materials, are two great artists that know and have worked with the loving materials for an extensive amount of time. Both appreciate the beauty in the simple materials such as food and materials like cardboard that are usually mostly found in the trash that they get their inspiration from and let they’re inventiveness, creativity and imagination take over their minds. It was really great having the opportunity to even participate in one of the pieces and I would recommend it to everyone to go and experience and be part of Viviane Le Courtois’s art piece.

One Response

  1. The “Edible” exhibition sounds extremely interesting and I like that they used up an entire room to really enlarge the space and capture the piece to it’s full potential.

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