[October 20 2014]
Feed, a solo exhibition by Martynka Wawrzyniak, consists of a new body of work reflecting a year-long project where the artist investigated food from the perspective of nourishment, ritual, culture, as well as the corporeal and sensorial pleasure associated with the act of eating.
In February 2013, Wawrzyniak began a year-long daily exercise which involved the use of one identical 20 x 20 -inch white cloth dinner napkin to wipe her mouth each night at dinner. She then proceeded to file the napkins with a detailed record of the ingredients of what she ate. In the instances where she prepared the meal herself, she included a complete list of all of the ingredients. In the instance of dining out in a restaurant or as a guest in someone’s home, the artist used her best judgment to record the ingredients.
For the exhibition Wawrzyniak will use all 365 soiled napkins, sewn together in chronological order to create an interlocking, two-spiral 100-foot walk-in structure hanging from the gallery ceiling. This sculpture will be accompanied by a non-traditional limited edition cookbook in which a photograph of each soiled napkin is accompanied by a detailed list of ingredients. Elaborate three-course meals are boiled down to a scientific index, leaving the taste and visual image of the meal up to the viewer’s imagination.
The artist simultaneously collected 365 6 x 6 -inch paper lunch napkins, from dabbing her mouth after her daily morning green juice. These paper napkins are arranged in twelve framed calendar formations, creating a visual record of time passing, much like a prisoner keeping track of time by drawing lines on the cell wall. Both pieces are tactile recordings of a daily performance, and in speaking about the months-long process, Wawrzyniak says: “I felt like I was sharing my meals with the public every day and made a conscious effort to be creative in my choice of ingredients. It was like having a daily dinner party. It becomes a tactile self-portrait, representing a year of my life recorded through the food that nourished me”.
Furthermore, also included in the exhibition are two small-scale sculptures: a casting of the negative space of the inside of the artist’s mouth out of edible golden candy and the hollow of her abdomen out of white confectionery gum paste. Like the stains left over from meals on the napkins these pieces are negative imprints of a living, breathing body. Photo Olivier Zahm