Hey, Did You Drop Something?

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Auguste Rodin initially imagined his sculpture of Eve (1881) would be part of  his much larger work  Gates of Hell. However, the artist decided to exhibited Eve as an independent sculpture to high acclaim in Paris in 1881.

Why Rodin broke with long-standing convention, dating back centuries, to depict Eve without the apple and without Adam is unclear to me. (Adam and Eve are sometimes depicted together, but without an apple, when fleeing paradise which happens after the famous apple scene.)

My own reading of the sculpture tells me that Eve’s body posture expresses such agonizing regret and guilt, no apple is needed to remind the viewer of her role in throwing the world into more or less permanent disarray. In short, the woman has dropped “the forbidden fruit” because, to be blunt, there’s no doubt in Rodin’s own mind or the minds of much of patriarchal society, that she’s guilty as hell.

My installation Hey, did you drop something intends to question in a humorous way the male patriarchal explanation for the existence of evil: “’Why do bad things happen to good people?’ Obviously because a woman ate the forbidden fruit!”’ Specifically, I intend to trivialize the agonizing Eve and all she represents by asking her to pick up the apple and take a healthy, happy bite out of it.

Many thanks to Toronto sculpture Kip Jones and the technicians at OCADU for helping me produce the bronze apple.

Footnote: I’ve had opportunity to see Eve at the Frederick Meyer’s Sculpture Gardens in Grand Rapids, MI, on several occasions when visiting family. Every time I see it, I feel deeply moved by this sculpture. I’m not questioning the work itself, but rather the unfortunate myth it represents in such a powerful way.

 Source: musee-rodin.fr/en/collections/sculptures/eve.


Why you should care about stickers on your fruit

Stickers on fruits and vegetables are officially known as PLU codes or price look-up codes.

Initially, in the 1990s, they contained bar codes only to facilitate inventory control. Soon, logos and website URLs were added. Now they are rather ingenious, tiny billboards.

In fact, a PLU sticker turns a banana into a brand. It doesn’t stop there. For example, put a few lettuce heads into a plastic bag, and, surprise, they turn into a “value-added vegetable product.” The “value-added” piece translates into more profit for food distributors, presumably because putting lettuce heads into a plastic bag with a PLU code on it makes our lives more convenient.

The 1400 PLU codes in circulation around the world today symbolize the globalization and the commercialization of basic food commodities.

I’ve been exploring this theme in the PLU Codes Project. This multi-year project includes a series of multi-media visual art pieces — all of them intended to make you smile, and, maybe, make you pause for a moment. I welcome your comments.

Photo credit: Detail of la Orana Maria, 1891, modified with PLU code, trademark TM Chiquita. Original image: Paul Gauguin (1848–1903). At the MET in NY, NY. Oil on canvas 113.7 cm x 87.6 cm. Bequest of Sam A. Lewisohn, 1951.  Concept copyright 2017 © by Nandy Heule