INGA SVALA THORSDÓTTIR, WU SHAN ZHUAN: Vege-Pleasure

Overview
Vege-pleasure was a collaborative project between Wu Shanzhuan and Icelandic artist Inga-Svala Thórsdóttir (b. 1966) completed in Hamburg, Germany, in 1995.  It is related to their earlier work Paradises (1993), which derives from a well-known woodblock print of Adam and Eve by Albrecht Dürer (1504).  Both collaborative works point towards an Edenic state of abundance, consumption, and physical satisfaction in man's perception of and relation to the vegetable world.  Vege-pleasure (Lot 67, 1999) documents a veritable orgy of vegetables, progressively rotting in various relationships of physical intimacy and imagined reproductive capacity.  

In making Vege-pleasure, the artists wished to distance the quotidian products of habitual consumption from bodily experience, making a landscape of them in their home.  In arranging their various vegetables still-lifes, the artists had in mind the decreasing bio-diversity available to the average supermarket consumer.  "There was a lot of ecological literature behind it," says Thórsdóttir, "but the products used were simply what we could afford.  The principle was to imagine that one vegetable could profit from another... that every intercourse among vegetables could be productive, that a life could start from this.  If you put a mango with a potato it's like anonymous sex, but it's a forced diversity... various things don't go together, like mango and avocado...  It became a process of observing nature, like a scientific experiment, but our results were visual and uncontrolled:  the greatest life we had was flies and mold."