“Nuttella on Laminated chipboard”
At first I thought, ooh, I quite like the texture, it’s actually quite attractive, shiny, chocolatey, smooth, tactile. Edible chocolate Artex, with a few bites taken out.
Then I started to think about how big this installation is, how much Nutella the artist must have used, wantonly slathering it from (possibly comically tiny) jars onto a giant slab of chipboard in the name of art. This image amused me for a moment, but then it led to me getting a bit annoyed; a bit uncomfortable. I started thinking about the huge waste this represents. In terms of calories alone this piece could have sustained many hungry creatures, but instead it is here, stuck to a wall in an art gallery, annoying me.
But at least it’s making me think, right? At least it’s making me feel something…..right?
I didn’t need to see this to be painfully aware of the imbalances and injustices of our world. It didn’t make me realise anything I didn’t already know, except maybe that large art installations made from Nutella have the potential to ruin my day.
All it really did was annoy an already painfully aware, exasperated-by-the-state-of-the-world human.
Wasted food, wasted ethics, wasted awareness, wasted life. That’s what this represents to me. An aspirational “food” with little nutritional value produced by a huge, unethical multinational brand, slathered frivolously on a giant bit of board in a western art gallery while the world burns and falls to pieces and people just bury their heads in the sand.
The little notes from the schoolchildren who had visited the exhibition said it all, every one I read mentioned Nutella. Not one seemed upset by it, it hadn’t “got through” to any of them, they were just impressed by all that Nutella on the wall.
Yes, it made me react, and it could be argued that that is the point of this piece of art, but does it really do what it is supposed to do? It could equally just be a load of chocolate spread on a piece of wood with no socio-political motivation whatsoever. That’s how the schoolchildren saw it, and I think that’s really, really sad.