Twenty-two Years of Working With Food
Featuring the new interactive installation The Garden of Earthy Delights
While Viviane Le Courtois has been working with food as a medium or source of inspiration since 1990, Edible? at Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art presents the first opportunity to experience a large selection from this body of work in context. In addition to the newly commissioned interactive installation The Garden of Earthy Delights, the exhibition comprises a mid-career retrospective of food-related work of the past twenty-two years by this Denver-based artist. Through sculptures, performances, videos, photos, prints, and interactive installations, Le Courtois explores the processes of consumption, focusing on the repetitive aspects of food preparation, ceremonial food offerings, and the social implications of eating.
The earliest works in the exhibition, executed in France in the 1990s before her move to the US, include an installation of chewed licorice sticks as well as photographs and video documentation of performances and sculptural work made from foraged foods, fruit peelings, and nut shells. For a series of Pickles from the early 2000s, Le Courtois filled over 200 jars with various liquids and random objects in memory of her then recently-deceased mother, who had a tendency to keep pickle jars long after the contents had been consumed.
A series of etchings employing the naturally occurring acids of the kombucha mushroom continues to fascinate Le Courtois, who has created over forty different plates since developing the process in 2004. A number of these prints, as well as the mushrooms used to create them, will be on view alongside large-scale sculptures from a series of works created from junk food such as chips, candy, and marshmallows. These include the Cheetovore, Shane The Obese Marshmallow Teenager, a group of Little Fat Kids – small figurines made from melted and cast candy, and the Venus of Consumption, a crocheted sculpture of an obese, reclining woman.
Since 2010, Le Courtois has become increasingly interested in aspects of interaction and participation and has organized a number of events for which she prepared and served meals for a large number of guests, including How to Eat An Artichoke, held at RedLine Denver in 2010, and a curry dinner for the exhibition Do It! at Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design in 2011.
The Garden of Earthy Delights, a living interactive installation created for BMoCA, is envisioned as a space for people to relax, think, and interact. Herbs such as mint, verbena, thyme, sage, and rosemary are arranged throughout the gallery in miniature gardens for consumption in tea, in reference to the ancient process of growing, collecting, and consuming plants. Every Saturday between 1pm and 3pm, the artist will tend to the plants, serve tea, and offer samples of sprouts, microgreens, and baby greens, grown inside the museum as part of the exhibition.
Viviane Le Courtois was born in France in 1969. She moved to the US in 1994 and currently lives in Denver, Colorado. She received her Diplôme National Supérieur d’Expression Plastique (MFA) in Sculpture/Installations from the International School of Art and Research in Nice, France in 1992 and an MA in Art History from the University of Denver in 2000. In 2009 Westword presented Le Courtois with the Mastermind Award in Visual Arts. She was a resident artist at RedLine Denver from 2008 to 2011. She regularly exhibits in the US and Europe and has shown her work at the Passerelle Art Center in France, Mobius in Boston, and at many venues in Colorado, including Rocky Mountain School of Art + Design, Regis University, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver during the 2010 Biennial of the Americas.