Raul Ortega Ayala 'Living Remains'
September 12 thru November 21, 2010
Location: Hogewal 1-9, The Hague
Open: Wednesday thru Sunday, 12 noon - 5pm
Opening reception: September 11, 2010, 5 pm (performance 'Melting Pots'). Photos of the opening: click here.
On September 4, 2010 - as part of the Museumnacht Den Haag - the performance 'The Last Supper' as a preview to the exhibition
Stroom Den Haag presents the first solo exhibition in the Netherlands of work by Mexican artist Raul Ortega Ayala. ‘Living Remains' is presented concurrently with the 'Foodprint. Food for the city' program. Including performance, video, text and objects, the exhibition explores food beyond bodily sustenance, investigating its intrinsic significance in life's rituals and cycles, its role in religion and culture, as well as its interconnections with our emotions and psychologies.
Download floorplan of exhibition + additional information (pdf file)
The exhibition itself was preceded by the performance ‘The Last Supper' which explores the limits between the secular and the sacred. With the participation of twelve exhibition-goers on a first-come first-served basis, Ortega Ayala meticulously recreated the ‘original' meal and enacts the surrounding rituals as allegedly experienced by the Twelve Apostles according to the research of food historian Daniel Rogov. During the exhibition opening a second performance, 'Melting Pots', took place in which Ortega Ayala recreated a buffet that was served in the Twin Towers' famous restaurant, Windows on the World, in New York. He served this food on kitchenware that was possibly made from the recycled metal debris of the towers, investigating the paradoxical cycle to which these remains were subjected. The artist left the remains from both of these performances in the gallery to decompose slowly throughout the course of the exhibition.
‘Tomatina / Tim' is presented for the first time in ‘Living Remains', exploring issues of decadence, abundance and excess. This video consists of two large-scale opposing projections in which the visceral and carnivalesque behaviour of Tomatina festival-goers in Spain is paired with an American professional competitive eater as he consumes 40 hotdogs in less than 10 minutes. Ortega Ayala interprets these phenomena as involuntary metaphors of our times. Other works in the exhibition include a cheese made from mother's milk, a work that Ortega Ayala first made in 2003, and a replica of Pieter Bruegel's The Tower of Babel made from fat, which will slowly melt during the course of the exhibition.
The methods Ortega Ayala draws on in his practice resemble the work of an ethnographer. Immersing himself as a ‘participant observer' in environments such as those connected with food, gardening, office work and most recently statistics, he then uses the materials and experiences resulting from these immersions to produce a group of works which he calls ‘souvenirs'. The artist's ongoing engagement and research into the world of food has included undertaking cooking and butchering courses in Mexico, London and New York.
Raul Ortega Ayala (1973, Mexico) received an MFA from the Glasgow School of Arts and Hunter College in New York. He also studied philosophy at the National Autonomous University of Mexico whilst doing his undergraduate degree in fine arts. Although he is relatively unknown in the Netherlands, his work has been exhibited all over the world, including Great Britain, Ireland, USA, Canada, Mexico, Estonia, China, and the Netherlands (e.g. the Foodprint group exhibition in 2009). Raul Ortega Ayala is represented by Rokeby, London.
The exhibition is accompanied by an extensive lineup of Foodprint events. For more information click here.
Thanks to Mondriaan Foundation and Embassy of Mexico in The Netherlands
- 11 Sep '10 - 21 Nov '10
- Hogewal 1-9, The Hague
- Entrance: free