Viviane Le Courtois: Edible?

Janeesa Jeffery


Exhibition Paper



Viviane Le Courtois: Edible?


        For the exhibition I decided to attend the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art where Viviane Le Courtois: Edible? artwork was featured. Within this exhibit there were also works from The Garden of Earthly Delight, which is a living interactive installation created for this museum. The center of this part of the exhibit is for people to come and relax, interact, and think. There are herbs arranged around the gallery in little miniature gardens. This is in reference to the ancient process of growing, collecting, and consuming plants.  This exhibit is also is food-related work of the past twenty-two years. She has been using food as a medium or a source of inspiration since the 90’s. Through different forms of art she explores the processes of consumption. By doing this, she focuses on the repetitive aspects of food preparation, ceremonial food offerings, and the social implications of eating.

                        Viviane Le Courtois was born in France in 1969, moved to the United States in the year 1994 and she currently lives here in Denver, Colorado. She earned her diploma in Sculpture/installations from the international school of art and research in Nice, France in 1992. She accompanied her diploma with her MA in Art History from the University of Denver in 2000. Also, she was the recipient of the Colorado Westword’s Mastermind Award in Visual Arts in 2009. In France she exhibited and in the US including at the Passerelle Art Center in France, Mobius in Boston, and at other venues in Colorado. She made her work based on her surroundings and by consumer culture wherever she lived and traveled. She creates her installations using materials that she collected.

I showed a personal interest in this exhibit because I love food myself and I love to eat. It also took me back to my child hood in a sense because I used to make objects out of candy and candy wrappers such as, belts, necklaces, and bracelets.  A series of these types of prints, as well as the mushrooms used to create them, were on view alongside other large-scale sculptures from a series of works created from junk food such as chips, candy, and marshmallows. These works include the Cheetovore, Candy Curtains, Shane The Obese Marshmallow Teenager, a group of Little Fat Kids and others.

The Cheetovore  in 2002 was the first piece of work I came across myself that was most noticeable. It’s a large paper mache, wire mesh object covered in cheetos that are glued on and polyurethane.  All of the little cheetos are glued together to this bigger object to create one huge hot cheeto itself. The first thing I thought to myself was how many bags of cheetos it took to create this massive cheeto.  Hot cheetos are actually one of my favorite bags of chips so I actually thought about trying to bite it for a second. As far as artistically I think it was smart to make the giant cheeto out of regular cheetos.

After I saw the giant cheeto I turned to read the description and I saw the Candy Curtains (2008) hanging. I didn’t notice them the first time that I saw them but when I did I instantly thought of being a kid. The curtains were made of simple candy itself and fishing line so that the curtains can hang and maintain itself. The first strand of the curtain was made up of just gummy worms in a way that gives the curtains some dimension because it is much thicker than any other part of the curtain besides the marshmallows. The next strand was made up of the multi colored twizzlers but they were not normal size. So, they were probably cut into a third of the original size and put in a rainbow color scheme to accompany the two-toned gummy worms next to them. After that, the third strand was also made up of twizzlers but only the original kind, which were again cut into smaller pieces. At the end of each twizzler there was a gummy lifesaver placed in between and then at the end of the next twizzler it was a regular hard lifesaver. The lifesavers then continued and alternate between gummy and hard ones. The fourth and fifth strands were the exact same as the second and third strands. The sixth strand was a striong of gummy bears that were color coordinated between the red, orange, and the yellow gummy bears. The curtain continued to repeat itself to the end but there was one strand added in that was made up of jumbo marshmallows and little marshmallows in between them. I thought this was one her most simple works but creative at the same time to make them into curtains as you walk through this certain section of the gallery.

The next piece of work that I saw that stood out to me was a big crocheted sculpture of an obese, reclining woman.  She was much disproportioned and the sculpture was completely colored in I’d say a more peachy color. I thought this one was weird to look at but I thought it was clever to have the woman reclined in such a way to resemble the fact she is obese and she has eaten too much. I might be a bit farfetched with this but, I feel like the sex of the sculpture was interesting to note that it was a woman and not an obese man. This is because I know that back in the renaissance period being obese and overweight was signs of being wealthy, but among them the women maintained an hourglass shape of a body and even now being a slim woman is the desired standard in today’s society.

Shane The Obese Marshmallow Teenager (2006) is also paper mache, wire mesh, composed of glue and marshmallows. Now having an obese man made a little more sense to me but with this piece of art the body was also disproportionate. The head on the body was much bigger than it should have been compared to the body, the legs were really short and one arm is longer than the other. In a way I guess the object no being that big kind of signified the “teenager” part of its title. There were also not any prominent features other than the physical appearance of the arms, legs and head that would give away that the work was human. There was no nose, eyes, ears, fingers, or toes on this piece of work.

The next piece of work that I came across was the “Little Fat Kids”. These were small figurines made from melted and cast candy. My first thought I had about this piece of work is that these definitely reminded me of the candy the sour patch kids. All of the little fat kids were in different assorted colors but they were identical in appearance with their body shape and placement. They actually looked like a mix of the obese woman and the obese teenager put together with both of their features. I just thought these little fat kids were cool to have.

            As far as edibles go at this exhibit those were my favorite ones. I realize that this next piece was not a part of the edible section but it was too noticeable for me not to mention. As I moved on to go upstairs I noticed that the walls were becoming covered in these card board objects. They were more so pointy objects and they are a different size and of different orientation. As I continued my way up the stairs and turned right the entire room became the object itself as if it was conveying outer space in a sense. When I got to the top of the stairs and looked up I saw a huge Styrofoam object that was hanging from the ceiling as if it was flying throughout outer space called SP4C3CR4FT by Jason Rogenes. The space craft itself was very intriguing. The dimensions and creativeness of it really drew me to it. The Styrofoam was carved into different sections to make the spacecraft look very realistic and there were really intricate details one could tell it took some time to make. This was one of my favorites because it wasn’t just the spacecraft itself the entire room made you grasp on to the idea and concept of this work I was very pleased.

            Overall, I have to say that there were not a lot of works within the edible section of the museum but I really enjoyed what was present as well. I think she’s genius in a way that she took one of the simplest aspects in life, consumption of food, and made it into artwork that some people might see as tedious but I actually find the joy and appreciate what she has done with her edible works. I definitely enjoyed going to her exhibit here in Boulder.

One Response

  1. I find it interesting that the health movement in this country is starting to generate a response in the art world. I think it is a unique creative process to make candy and other food items aesthetically pleasing or forming a recognizable image. I will definitely check out this gallery if it is still in Boulder.

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