Want to take your love for French fries or chips to the next level? If so, then you have to check out this art show. The creative and brilliant artist collective, Hotham Street Ladies (HSL), have mastered the art of playing with food.
The HSL have created a one-of-kind exhibit, called, ‘Autumn Moon Over Potato Blossoms‘ at the LAB-14 Gallery. Organised by the Carlton Connect Initiative and co-sponsored by The University of Melbourne, the art piece was built as a homage to the Western worlds obsession and overconsumption of fast food.
The HSL credit the inspiration for the art piece to an image of a ‘potato party’ thrown by South Korean teenagers in celebration of McDonald’s French fry discount in 2013. Imagine a mountain of fries. Literally. At the top of the tuber tower is a Big Mac. Cascading down the spud-slopes is a waterfall of ketchup that ends in a tomato sauce river/moat dotted by a handful of chicken nugget boulders.
The entire piece is made from sugar: icing fondant, royal icing, icing sugar, and food dye.
Guests were treated to a delicious feast made from surplus food by Open Table. Attendees listened to short presentations about the Carlton Connect Initiative; a guest spot by a food celebrity home cook and blogger; and even one of the artists from The Hotham Street Ladies spoke a few words.
As someone who has lived in South Korea, I can confirm that there is a strong love of fast food in South Korea. It was fascinating to see how the HSL interpreted a global obsession with fast food and created an impressive work of contemporary art. I got more out of the exhibit than I initially expected. It was a celebration of excess and wonderful food failures, a.k.a. the invention of beer, champagne, etc. At the risk of sounding cliché—it was definitely food for thought. The only thing missing was the heavenly smell of French fries.
This exhibit would most likely be appreciated by anyone who has watched Morgan Spurlock’s documentary, Super Size Me.
I enjoyed listening to the guest speakers talk about their passions for all things food related. An unexpected but pleasant addition of the art exhibit was the Wall of Cooking Mishaps. Anyone could write down their own weird and personal cooking disasters and add it to the growing mosaic of paper squares that were, ironically, the size of a recipe card. I wrote about the first time I made chocolate ice cream and my plus one wrote about the first time she made brownies.
Overall, the food was delicious. The atmosphere was friendly and the issues engaging. It was great to see foodies, artists, intellectuals, and chip-lovers united over a common love of food.
Be warned, the art show is small — it features a single piece of art, albeit an exquisitely crafted masterpiece that is still worth checking out. It left patrons salivating and wanting more.
Vanessa is a Melbourne transplant from California, aspiring pool shark, foodie, and avid art lover.
The Autumn Moon over Potato Blossom Mountain Art Exhibit runs 13 October–4 November 2016 at LAB –14 (700 Swanston Street, Carlton VIC 3053).