Plastic food package designs are often beautiful: lattice-work for salad, smooth surfaces and beaded edges for cakes, undulating ribbing or bulls-eye relief on cake and muffin lids. Much of our food is packaged so beautifully that we may not think about the source, ingredients or production of it. Many foods are processed with addictive and unhealthy ingredients such as sugar, flour and preservatives, while the manufacturing of plastic packaging requires excessive waste water during production and pollutes the environment when discarded.
I am fascinated with the designs of food containers and their potential to symbolically speak about the body as well as the environment and its influence on our food sources: the decline of the honeybee populations and polluted water are examples. I pour concrete into the containers, sometimes carving the resulting forms or adding elements, or breaking them and put them back together in a Kintsugi* way. I like to evoke a certain presence of the human body or body part, its emptiness or entrapment.
I feel compelled to put holes into the work, as though I am giving it a mouth to speak, a door to invite you in, or a portal for passing through. Other times I let the material and shape of the container influence the resulting form, sometimes manipulating, bending or cutting the container before casting it, to emphasize or obliterate the original shape and memory of its contents. I prefer using white Portland cement because it resembles bleached bones and fossils, alluding to history and archaeology.
Working on the wall is important to me, where the viewer is confronted directly at eye level, and there is a parallel between the body and the work. I create floor work as well: the confrontation with it is physically like stumbling onto an archaeological dig, a drain or a grave. You are forced to look down to avoid colliding with the sculpture in front of you. It demands that you contemplate the empty space between you and the sculpture, the space between you, and your body, its consumption or fulfillment and the impact on our environment.
*Translated to “golden joinery,” Kintsugi is the centuries-old Japanese art of fixing broken pottery with a special lacquer dusted with powdered gold. Philosophically, Kintsugi celebrates an objects unique history by emphasizing its imperfections instead of hiding or disguising them, often making the repaired object even more beautiful than the original.