Exhibition Paper-Viviane Le Courtois’ “Edible?”

The exhibition I went to see was Viviane Le Courtois’ “Edible?” Viviane Le Courtois was born in France in 1969 and moved to the United States in 1994.  She has Masters in various types of art emphasizing in sculpture and instillations as well as a degree in art history.  She has had many exhibits in the United States as well as in France.  Many of her works are collaborated from things she’s collected from her wide variety of traveled destinations she’s been to.  She emphasizes her thoughts and experiences with her surroundings and the many diverse and unique consumer cultures she comes into contact with.

When I first heard about this exhibition I thought that it would be of rotting foods that the artist eats on a regular basis and that she was simply changing its context into an art setting.  But after seeing the exhibition I have discovered that she has accomplished much more then that in her works.  She examines the processes of consumption, focusing on the repetitive aspects of food preparation, but goes one step further in also exploring ceremonial food offerings, and the social implications of eating.  Food plays such a huge role in our everyday lives in order to survive; something we do so naturally whether it is with family, friends, social gatherings.  Le Courtois puts an intriguing twist onto the meaning of food.  She places it in this artistic context where individuals can relate and interact with it.  When I walked into the gallery, I not only felt hungry, but I also was thinking about how healthy each of the foods were that were shown and what I had eaten so far that day and how nutritious it had been.

One work that I found to be incredibly disgusting and yet intriguing was Venus of Consumption.  This work consisted of a morbidly obese, round, orange woman lying down on her side, with her head rested upon her arm as if she were passed out in a food coma.   Her other hand touched her stomach as if she ate too much and had a stomach-ache.   In another art history class I once learned about works of art that were named Venus.  These works were beautiful to those people who created them at the time, and having the name Venus made these works be held to a higher level.  Seeing this work though, definitely did not make me relate it to those in a good way.  She was made of materials such as acrylic yarn, stuffing and silicone.   I disagree with the artist naming the figure Venus, because it is not at all beautiful.  I do find it interesting to think that maybe the work was intended to portray this lack of beauty in a way to make it beautiful in that new artistic context.

I find this woman’s work to be altogether fascinating.  I love the idea of taking everyday, ordinary, and sometimes useless objects that we as the human race seem to not think twice about, and then putting them into a new light; an artistic context where the meanings are completely changed.  Just the act of doing this, draws in so many different viewers, allowing them to create their own narrative on the piece starting with a personal connection that they can individually draw from the starting point that is given.  I find it so beautiful to give these useless objects a second chance at life to be more then what they once were; something beautiful and meaningful.

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