31st January – 2nd February
Marcello Martinez Vega (Bologna, IT)
Nutrition is culture. It always has been and is even more so today. Nutrition was and still is a pure necessity, often a dramatic question of survival depending on the resources and whims of nature and last but not least that of money. If one has the means and has a choice, then our basic need for food intake develops
increasingly into a codex: What are we allowed to eat, what is morally and ecologically correct and what is legitimate in terms of nutritional physiology?
Through Nutrition we experience the beginnings of our personal and cultural Identity. Food intake is the first and probably most intense form of communication for a child in its home environment, even before it begins with language. What we eat and how we eat, are thus values, treasures and customs of the cultural region that we grow up in. These cultural regions are not static and have never been. Eras of Trade and travel have brought to us the majestic fragrance of spices as cultural ambassadors. And what would the world be like without cinnamon, cacao, pepper or nutmeg? Treasures, that were once more valuable than a human life.Wherever people go, willingly or compelled, they take this identity with them. Scents and flavors are links to their cultural roots; and when in foreign countries and places, are the familiar reminders of their origins. Nutrition, as a clear cultural identity, grounds the human being wherever he dwells and it always provides a means of communication to and between that what is foreign. In order to live this identity, mankind searches for a place to settle down. The installation Homme food/Homeless discusses this connection. Mankind’s search for living space “Habitat” is always a search for a place that offers protection and room for this deeply anchored need for cultural identity. Nutrition is a basic form of this identity.
On one side of the room you will find an abstract “architectural form”. It indicates the pursuit of Mankind’s search for his place “Habitat”. The aestheticization, evaluation and limitation of the space is born. This installation stands for a substantially political journey into the centre of social events of humanity. Since ever mankind has been in existence, his quest ( or search), for the most part against his will, has been for better living conditions, for food, for peace, for love.
A search to stop misery, borne by hope, confidence and the will to survive. And the result? Only too often, disappointment. Seldom welcome in another cultural sphere, maybe tolerated, with a bit of luck, or once more sent on into uncertainty, and dispersed again. The installation is not concerned with the reasons for these movements (migrations). Rather, the individual objects point to, reveal, reference what people seek, both within themselves and without. This quest (search) and this experience are timeless, regardless of the current issues for Europe. The object “Ship”, in the space on the right, represents journeying into the unknown. Millions of people have succeeded in getting from one shore to the other, only to fail to find what they were seeking. Branded, numbered, a long road towards becoming integrated. The “Walking Stick” is here as an aid, the social symbol of well-meant but inadequate support. What human beings seek traces back to archaic basic needs. These are reflected in the objects “Wind”, “Earth”, “Water”, “Fire” and “Habitat”. For me, the “Wind”, the element of air, is a very feminine, erotic form and thus stands intrinsically for the life and love instinct. For this, we need freedom, inside as well as outside. The objects “Earth”, “Water” and “Fire” are located close together in the middle – elements intrinsic to the basis of life on earth and resources essential to the survival of mankind.
A barren tree wedged in a plough symbolises Mother Earth. To arrive at a site, to feel “ grounded” there, safe, the earth giving her sustenance, an emotional construct of homeland or at least a home. At the base, a copper pot filled with water and placed on coal. Water and fire, we cannot survive without them. Heat, growth, thriving, food preparation, shaping our existence according to our own needs. Without these means (Verhältmisse), mankind will wither away.
And then “Habitat”. This object not only represents our fundamental need for protection, space, shelter. For me, this is also an ideal. I want my “habitat” to be like this: a peaceful community, a place of love, skilfulness and life, characterised by Eros as the root of all forms of love. A place where mankind’s fundamental needs are met and thus, in general, initially allowing culture to arise.
Marcello Martinez Vega – born in Ecuador.
1987 Sculptures and Engravings Diplom, Universidad Central del Ecuador in Quito.
He lives and works in Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany
Artist’s website: martinez-vega.de/