Friday, September 10, 2010

The Vegetable Museum, Ju Duoqi

The Vegetable Museum, Ju Duoqi
It has long been an established practice for artists to study the paintings and drawings of artists from the past by creating their own copies of the masters’ work. Ju Duoqi just happens to use vegetables as her medium.

Her “Vegetable Museum” is a series in which she has arranged vegetables, fresh and otherwise, chosen for their form, textural qualities, tone and color, to recreate famous works from some of Western art’s great masters. The results, particularly if you are familiar with the original work, are amusing, often hilarious, as well as being visually yummy for their own compositional characteristics.

Duoqi, who was born in Chongqing, China and studied at the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute, found herself rearranging vegetables in the bins at market stalls, seeing in the arrangments bits of imagery.

She put some together in her first old master study by recreating Eug&eqcute;ne Delacroix’s La Liberté Guidant le Peuple (“Liberty Leading the People”) as La Liberté Guidant les Légumes (essentially,”Liberty Leading the Beans”).

Duoqi chooses from a variety of vegetables in various states, fresh, rotten, withered, dried, pickled, fried, boiled and otherwise prepared, carefully arranges them, photographs the arrangement and then digitally manipulates the results. The final pieces are printed in limited editions.

In addition to The Vegetable Museum, the Galerie Paris-Beijing, which handles her work, has an exhibit of The Fantasies of Chinese Cabbage, images of cheesecake pictures of women (including Marylyn Monroe’s iconic Playboy centerfold) created out of the aforementioned vegetable. These are particularly interesting for the way she has used the striations of the cabbage in defining the forms, plus they’re also frequently hilarious.

The Vegetable Museum series, as I pointed out, is best enjoyed in comparison to the originals. Images above: Rembrandt’s The Anatomy Lecture of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp, Da Vinci’s The Last Supper, Ilya Repin’s Barge Haulers on the Volga, Henri Rousseau’s The Sleeping Gypsy and Gustav Klimpt’s The Kiss.

(Also, for more on those artists, see my posts on Rembrandt [also here], Da Vinci’s The Last Supper, Ilya Repin, Henri Rousseau and Gustav Klimt.)

So far, Duoqi has resisted the temptation to create any (possibly recursive) homages to the vegetable-as-image paintings of Guisepe Arcimboldo.

[Via Sandbox World]

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