Dear vernissage guests, connoisseurs of culture, exhibition hoppers and friends of the arts

by Patricia Caspari, Art Critic, Berlin

© 2000 Patricia Caspari
from: Needleworks II, Katalog Patricia Waller, Osnabrück 2000


Delicious grapes, perfect canapé with salmon or delicately smoked ham, subtle to piquant cheeses - pardon, fromage -, seafood, crisp salads and to round it all off "vin rouge" of the highest class. The generous buffet has started you sali-vating and stimulated your gastric juices. "An excellent exhibit," you call blindly, wishing to dig in, bite off, and washed down. But beware, ravenous guest! Hairy fluff in your drooling mouth, squeaking wool fibers between your teeth, and a sticky ball of yarn in your throat, that will be the result when you feast yourself on this crocheted buffet of wool.

Patricia Waller's EatArt concept is meant to be eaten with the eyes not with the mouth and - she doesn't make a secret of it - a certain gloating is involved. Her needling is aimed at the commercialization of cultural activities as if they were an art cafeteria in which exhibited works are second in importance to sandwiches and snacks. She's also needling you, hungry guest.

"Such a pity," your stomach laments, but following this heartbreaking disap-pointment aesthetic sublimation grows within you. Apart from the imaginary fluff in your mouth, your mind is now free to intake in a way appropriate for an art reception. The essence of the imitated food becomes recognizable to you, freed from the sensory dimension of nutritional intake. The deep red of the sliced salami, its oval form, the finely woven specks of fat which you always picked out as a kid or the crispy crust of the chicken imitated by coarse wool, which was you favorite part before you became a vegetarian: you compare, you remember.

Now you have personally experienced the core of Hegel's aesthetics, which explains at times in a somewhat convoluted manner, that the artificial perspec-tive of art first makes possible the true view of the world.

You not only see the food as if for the first time, thanks to Waller's thoughtful ar-rangement, you are also reminded of typical pictures from mother's cookbook, or a visit to a KFC in the '70s, your own past, your world.

Some now you are there where art wants to bring you, away from the colorful temptations of advertisements and the distractions of your everyday life, back to yourself, able to - finally - focus on the essential: YOU.

You can always eat after the Vernissage.