The Substation, Sub 12, Newport, Melbourne
Presented as a festive buffet, Dessert Wastes features glass tanks containing meringue icebergs that float, cracked and broken, on seas of black jelly. Investigating themes of transience and decay, this time-based installation playfully references Antarctic desert/dessert wastelands and challenges notions of consumption, wastage and the decline of the Sublime.
The use of meringue is calculated. Pavlova - allegedly an Australian creation - conjures images of the domestic suburban kitchen with associations of warmth, clutter, noise, busy-ness and inclusiveness. Such sensibilities contrast with inherent iceberg imagery of coldness, austerity, awe, quietness and exclusivity.
The mundane-ness of Dessert Wastes undermines the grandeur of icebergs by contrasting the sublime in nature, with literal consumption and pantry use-by-dates.
Mounted photographs mimic family portraits, documenting aging and time-based disintegration, while rock salt (a culinary preservative) crunches underfoot like snow. Fictional postcards and fridge magnet/memorabilia cling to fridge doors, poking fun at the refrigerator's role as family hub, household noticeboard and polar-substitute white-good.
Edible art invites the viewer to eat the work, or at least consider the possibility, and the buffet assemblage promotes this as a complicit communal activity. However, the idea also taps into a collective horror/fascination with rotting, decomposing matter, which intensifies as the work slowly decays over the duration of the exhibition. The iconic iceberg becomes a throwaway item.