A tower of cucumbers, a dolphin being carried by a wave of various cold cuts, lobsters reaching for each other’s pinchers and a skeptical pig’s skull on a tray. ,A Sitting and A Slurping and A Spitting and A Thinking’ assembles a banquet of bizarre ceramic arrangements of which the comic quality revitalizes the 17th century still life within humorous object compositions set in glaze. Traditional forms of presentation are fused with contemporary, absurd eating cultures and practices in six sculptural ceramics.
Since the beginning of the last century, Shokuhin Sanpuru (Fake Food) has enjoyed a particular popularity in Japan. The nearly perfect imitation of diverse Japanese dishes has established itself as a distinct profession in its own right, which requires years of practice. To this day, die imitations are used primarily to enable visual evaluation of the offered dishes prior to entering a restaurant. At first glance, Bednarsky’s food installations appear inviting as well with their glossy, colorful surfaces, and if the 1822 Forum were to be a Japanese restaurant, one would most likely enter. While making ones way to the table, however, the first doubts would possibly arise. Exactly what kind of establishment did one just enter? Also, who or what is actually being served here?
A tower of thick cucumber slices with a shrimp topping looms over the other meals with a certain kind of tzatziki sauce oozing from the openings of the ceramic construction. It is inspired by an abstruse food trend which recently developed in Chinese fast food restaurants. Help yourself salad bars there, that follow the one trip policy, left customers stacking their salads increasingly higher in order to obtain as much as possible. Thereby edible, extraordinary architectures were created, which Bednarsky now translates into the aesthetics of her ceramics. The other sculptures in Bednarsky’s odd buffet equally fluctuate between the strange and the partly brutal practices of our contemporary eating culture. Two geese heads, which poke out of half watermelon, serve as straws, referring to fattened geese, a delicacy particularly popular in France. In order to force-feed them, metal tubes are shoved down their throats and under pressure fattening feed is pumped into their stomachs. In Bednarsky’s melon couple drink, the stuffed necks encounter the visitors with slightly opened mouths and their eyes wide opened. What would they want to tell us if we were to understand their language? A pineapple is stuck into a pig’s head, which is neatly arranged on a tray with bananas, grapes, citrus fruits and other types of fruit. The decapitated animal’s gaze grazes us skeptically as well.
Could the lobsters be clinging to each other’s pincers, collectively preparing themselves for their approaching inevitable demise and providing each other with consolation?
Violence and comedy are closely linked in Bednarsky’s installations, and in the end it is up to oneself to investigate who will reap the benefits of this meal. The strategies of humor disarm us and project us back onto ourselves - we sit, we slurp, we spit - but are we aware of our own behavior while doing so?
Text: Sonja-Maria Borstner
Translation: Lena Stewens