The Last Suppemarket, 2014
Material: Murray River Salt
Dimensions: variable (life-size supermarket)
“For collectors and audiences looking for that delicate balance of the aesthetic and the political, the tactile and contemplative, a trip down the aisles of The Last Suppermarket is a must” Kate Britton, Art Collector magazine
The Last Suppermarket was a large-scale, interactive installation Ken + Julia Yonetani especially conceived for the Melbourne Art Fair 2014.
The installation was a fully functional supermarket where every item is sculpted out of deathly white salt. Visitors were given a shopping basket and invited to browse shelves filled with salt bread, meat, fish, fruit, vegetables and wine, along with bowls, plates, and glasses – all priced per kilo, by the bunch or per item. At the cash register, items are weighed, costs are calculated and the goods are then wrapped. Over the course of the fair, the shelves gradually emptied.
The use of the material salt has direct connections to the increasing salinity of Victoria’s farmland. It also has a wider metaphorical reference to environmental damage, the death of ecosystems, increasing salinity levels and environmental toxins – and the impact this has on food production and safety.
The Last Suppermarket positions itself as the opposite of the traditionally minimalist art fair stand. The white products are both beautiful and disconcerting, their salty texture at once earthly and ethereal, while the entire stall, designed in pure white, evokes a sense of nostalgia as a well as a sense of futuristic unease.