Added May 28, 2008
London, United K...
While I was in the first year of my BA Fine Arts (1998-2001) in Middlesex University-London, I produced a body of worked which I untitled “Jacket Potatoes”.
That year, I was working in the student Union’s cafeteria, preparing and serving meals (including jacket potatoes) to my fellow students. It was not exactly clear to them whether I was a student or a member of staff. Having to juggle with the requirements of my course curriculum and earning money to pay my rent, I used the cafeteria’s kitchen as my studio. Being very much into the Arte-Povera movement and Joseph Beuys motto: ‘Everyone is an artist’ or even Marina Abramovic, I very much liked to have a second look (still today) to what I threw in the bins. The intrinsic qualities of the baked potato skin, malleable while moist, hard but fragile once dry, aroused my imagination and I started to collect them. I sew the baked potato skins together giving it the shape of a jacket inspired by a 19th century Edwardian pattern to make jacket-potatoes. The cultural shock of being in a foreign country (I am French) somehow compelled me to play with a British cultural reference. Each of them measures 11 cm. I was sewing them while the skin was still fresh.
Although my year colleagues had to pay for their meals, they generously participated in my enterprise, donating the most nutritious element of their lunches. After a few months, I completed sixty jackets. I first displayed them on the college gallery floor. In 1998, I won the first prize of the Apthorp Student Prize. I also exhibited them in Oslo, Norway as part of a group show. 30 of them were exhibited in the Chocolate Factory, Haringey- London for a few years.
The other day, I opened the several boxes (they followed me everywhere I moved in London- about 10 times in 10 years-pict4-5-6) in which they are kept from dust and humidity. They show a few sign of decay. I still find them grim but I also vulnerable, easily crushed. Live on jack-pot!
Baked potato skins, lining.