[ISEA2013] Artists Statement: Julia Yonetani & Ken Yonetani – Still life: the food bowl

Artists Statement

Ken + Julia Yonetani showed their large scale salt installation Still Life: The Food Bowl, a work which emerged in 2011 from a Synapse Residency organized and sponsored by Mildura Palimpsest. This work is made with Murray River Salt.

Still Life: The Food Bowl is made from this groundwater salt. It draws on still life as an artistic tradition that emerged as current agricultural practices were being developed, bringing new food produce to the tables of a rising European bourgeois class. The still life themes of consumption, luxury, vanity and mortality are reenacted, now entirely from salt. The stark white salt works bring us back to the environmental cost of agricultural production and link up with historical associations of salt—as a powerful, sacred substance that maintains life by enabling food preservation, but also induces the death of ecosystems and the collapse of empires. Salt becomes a metaphor for the rise and fall of civilisations throughout history, and the issues of environmental decline, climate change, and food security that face us on a global scale today.  Source: kenandjuliayonetani.com/still_life.html

  • Julia Yonetani & Ken Yonetani were both born in Tokyo, but from world’s apart. Ken grew up in a typical Japanese household, Julia travelled the world with her ex-pat family eventually settling in Australia. She returned to Japan in her early twenties, and met Ken there not long after.            kenandjuliayonetani.com/en

Supported by the Australian Network for Art and Technology, Sunrise 21 and Murray-Darling Freshwater Research Centre in association with the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body. This body of work emerged from a Synapse residency in Mildura. Special thanks to Helen Vivian and Ross Lake, curator and director of Palimpsest, Mildura.