16/02/2012 – 19/02/2012
The Ister presents WATER DOWN THE SINK **//Spiral Eyes//**, an exhibition with Marco Bruzzone.
Leave the dishes in the water. It will crack the molecules´ bindings and the dirt will be dissolving. Lonely artichokes, veal and some eggs, bites of pork, shredded basil leaves, melting cheese, red wine, mushrooms which once were dry. Everything gets soaked, and starts dancing obesily in circles and then in a spiral. The wastes are now heading off somewhere else. Soon. Recently, my dad told me, a little disappointed, that the blue paper went out of production…
With the support of: collection Famille Servais, vzw Nadine, Vincent de Höym.
—- images and interview below —-
Bitsy Knox, untitled, acrylic on board, 2012
Living for three weeks next to a 1966 Richter color chart
Lovely fragrant and pungent aioli
Grind pepper before using
andalouse (especially the delheize
supermarket commercial stuff!)
known as americaine to be one
of the greatest creations
bicky. What does my name mean?
curry-night kind of guy
short videos focused on mayo
clinic´s latest research
sometimes in flanders called
making pickles, relish
bloody mary mix for you
samurai, a devilish spicy mayonnaise
tartar once occupied parts of Ukraine,
Russia and zigeuner was always a real treat
 Pepper gets its spicy heat mostly from the piperine compound, which is found both in the outer fruit and in the seed. Black pepper contains between 4.6% and 9.7% piperine by mass, and white pepper slightly more than that. Refined piperine, by weight, is about one percent as hot as the capsaicin in chili peppers. The outer fruit layer, left on black pepper, also contains important odour-contributing terpenes including pinene, sabinene, limonene, caryophyllene, and linalool, which give citrusy, woody, and floral notes. These scents are mostly missing in white pepper, which is stripped of the fruit layer. White pepper can gain some different odours (including musty notes) from its longer fermentation stage.
Pepper loses flavour and aroma through evaporation, so airtight storage helps preserve pepper’s original spiciness longer. Pepper can also lose flavour when exposed to light, which can transform piperine into nearly tasteless isochavicine.¬¬¬ Once ground, pepper’s aromatics can evaporate quickly; most culinary sources recommend grinding whole peppercorns immediately before use for this reason. Handheld pepper mills or grinders, which mechanically grind or crush whole peppercorns, are used for this, sometimes instead of pepper shakers, dispensers of pre-ground pepper. Spice mills such as pepper mills were found in European kitchens as early as the 14th century, but the mortar and pestle used earlier for crushing pepper have remained a popular method for centuries after as well.
- February 13th, 2012: a conversation with Marco Bruzzone, Constance Barrère Dangleterre and Bitsy Knox -
Constance: How came the idea for this show?
Marco: As you know, I was a bit short on time but I thought ok, let’s make something happen, so we decided to make a dinner that triggers an exhibition. But then it became too concentrated on cooking so I thought, I’ll go down to Genova and do a workshop with my parents, and I’ll come back and bring some stuff, which I often do: to move things from one place to another. I do this in my art but also in general. It’s like if you take a spoon from one place to another, it’s nice…whatever. And so I thought I would bring a marble sink, and Constance told me, “yeah we can do that”, but then of course, I knew we could never do that [laughter]. 300 euros for a marble sink is not so much. It’s not a lot for a marble sculpture. But then I mean, to bring a marble piece from there to here is another story. And so Contance told me, why don’t you make it fake, there’s Pauline, it’s her job and she is the best, and I thought, of course, it’s more real to do it fake. What is it to bring the real one, like the freaky anthropologist bringing the marble sink from Italy? And there’s so much marble in Brussels. And so we said that we would make a replica in marble. The whole thing started to take form because I wanted to move things, not just an object, but also to exchange knowledge that would disappear from one place and appear somewhere else.
Constance: And so, you brought with you from Genova, the knowledge for how to cook a Pasqualina cake?
Marco: Yes, I’m not sure if we talked about it but my grandfather had a shop that was producing only these special cakes you are talking about, and farinata that is a kind of chickpea flour thing. There are two or three of these shops in Genova, it’s like the beginning of fast food in Italy at least. It’s a bit like anthropological eating, you don’t eat in the best restaurant, but it’s really good, simple. So then we come to cooking with my parents. I decided to do this workshop where I learn things that you can’t learn from a cookbook because there are so many small details. It’s knowledge. My mother is really into transmitting these things. And I taught them how to use Internet and skype.
Constance: Before you were telling me the story of Freud, who went to a country to see a porcupine. At the end of the story you said that you like this kind of trips where you go somewhere to find something very precise.
Marco: It’s a bit like when you’re a fisherman or a skateboarder or you play golf, you don’t feel like you’re a tourist because you have your thing to do, you go to fish in the river, etc. Freud was going to the U.S.A. for a conference; it was at the end of his career. There’s this story by Schopenhauer about porcupines. The story goes that when it’s cold, porcupines go next to each other to warm themselves, but then if they’re too close they will hurt each other. So, they need to find a distance where they can be warm but not be in pain, which is really like this in relationship to one another. [Constance: find the equilibrium], yeah: to like, to calibrate the balance.
And then, he went to the US and he had the urge to have something to do, to have a material goal in this trip, so he went to the forest to look for a porcupine. But he found this porcupine that was totally eaten out by ants, and he came back a bit disappointed. Then, where he was sleeping that night, the woman gave him a sculpture of one that is now in the Freud museum.
Constance: How does the blue paper relate to this story?
Marco: The blue paper is more related to my father, but is also related to things that disappear and pop up somewhere, having changed slightly. This paper is typical from where I come from, produced in a small factory that has unfortunately closed its doors recently. Genova is historically very famous for the color blue, I think that the blue jeans are produced in Nimes, I think they are called “denim” because of “de Nimes”, and then they were coloured in “Gênes”, which is why we called them jeans.
Constance: And this brings us to the presence of the sink?
Marco: You know when your French friends say, “what do you sink about? [laughter].
Constance: You mean qu’est ce que tu évier?!?
Marco: I’m kidding. It’s the sink at my parent’s place, which is this beautiful anonymous design marble object, which became very popular at the beginning of the last century. It’s very practical to clean and use, and it’s a place where water or things disappear, and go out from another end.
It would be nice to write a text about things that you think they are there but they sink, but instead of disappearing they just go somewhere else.
It’s a bit like a layer, the sink in this case separates things. And in fact the whole show is in layers, it’s theories that become more complex than the one with which you started. Also, the video is an overlapping of different videos.
Constance: How does it connect to your practice with food? It’s also a kitchen object…
Marco: It’s not about food, it’s just that I am brought to think about this object because I see it everyday and I spend time in the kitchen, but there are other things I see every day and come in contact with. I don’t think this thing of bringing things outside into my practice is very important to my work; it’s something everyone does. I think if you are interested in something it will eventually be taken into your working path.
Constance: They’re like bridges?
Marco: Or doors. But these sinks are like characters, like human beings. They separate, but what separates is also something, like a mask.
Constance: It shows something and it hides something, like a human being that shows its façade and swallows things, we don’t know where, but the person knows where.
Marco: In the relationship with someone, you are what you are outside but also what is interior, something more abstract. In fact I would like to give the works in this show human names. Maybe the names of all the people who have died recently, you know.
Constance: Why would you like to use the name of dead people?
Marco: Because they’re like ghosts, something you can’t perceive.
Constance: It seems like the passeur, that’s what we call it in French, the guy who takes care of the doors of the world of the dead, who is in between the world of the dead and the living. Theirs is also this idea of the river Styx…
Marco: … where the souls are taken from one side to the other
Constance: Exactly, with this idea of flowing water.
Marco: Which is also the idea for this exhibition, it comes together like a stream – sometimes I work more sharply, I do something and it’s finished. Sometimes I like to let myself go a bit more freely and things become more complex as well.
Constance: Like working in a more wavy style.
Marco: When I work in that way, there are things between that and the object that will come out and take form afterward. There is a thing that I really like: you know Bruno Munari? He was really amazing. He was saying, [long pause], “observe for a long time, think through it a lot, and make it in a second”. I really like that way of working. Between starting to watch things and making things, there are a thousand other things that arise.
I wanted to tell you about the school.
Constance: The idea of the school that is materialized in the text on the canvas.
Marco: I had an idea to clarify the relationship I have with Pauline but also with others. A lot has to do with exchanging and learning, even if I don’t learn the technique I learn that she knows this technique, it doesn’t mean I have to know it. When I was in Genova, when I was working with my mother in the kitchen, she was listening to this radio – radio three – which is amazing. Radio in Italy is still amazing, but only this one, radio tre, it’s one of the few things in culture and communication that is still working. It’s incredible. There is music experimental, opera freaks, politics, history, society, everything is there but on a high level, some of the best intellectuals are working for them.
Anyways, I was listening to a lot of this radio and in her car it’s tuned to this radio station and one day I listened to a program about Mandela and his impact on the world during his prison sentence. I was always thinking of Mandela a bit like a politician, like a bureaucrat. But then, when I heard about Nelson Mandela teaching fellow prisoners and guards at Robben Island during his prison sentence, I was really touched. The fact that he managed to conserve his ideals and his longing for freedom during this time in prison – Thirty years is so much time, it’s enough time to lose all kinds of human – you maintain so little humanity with such a long stay. You lose contact with reality, you have to be careful to do everything you’ve always done, like to keep track of time, if you lose that you lose history.
Bitsy: There was something really nice about the learning aspect as a way of retaining normalcy, but also as a way of surpassing limitations through the transmission of knowledge.
Marco: That’s where I found the comparison to our situation. We are living in a society where there are more and more restrictions related to what you can do but also related to the fact that cultural and intellectual needs are really becoming secondary. Related to the fact that I’m more and more doing things with food that are commenting on the fact that people are moving to a more animalistic rather than intellectual state. This is also a bit about that, about the moment when you don’t have anything, but you can still manage to make an exchange, from nothing.
Bitsy: There’s also an aspect of finding a common ground by looking to share individual skills. Which is also what Mandela was doing with his school, where everyone was allowed to assert their individual freedom by showing what they know.
Marco: I mean – being able to exchange capabilities or talents or skills is on one side extremely social, and on the other very individual. It’s the same relationship I have with group work. I don’t believe in groups that are too close because they don’t bring much back to the group. I think it’s better with people who have the possibility to move in and out.
Bitsy: That’s also the principle with the dinner. With the Ister we really wanted to allow more freedom amongst the art publics; to mix everyone. The concept of a dinner party is almost like curating people – looking for ways to bring people together.
Marco: It’s something that builds a network.
Bitsy: What about the artichokes? Is it because they’re in season?
Marco: I like to bring – I didn’t talk about it, I thought it was obvious, but I like to carry perishable things from one place to another. I hope the rabbits aren’t too bad. Should we take a look?