Food has been a subject for artists at least since the late Paleolithic when artists depicted a range of tasty animals on the walls of caves. Currently on view at the Anya Tish Gallery (4411 Montrose, 713-524-2299) through Friday, December 2, is a series of multi-media works by the Swiss artist Katja Loher. The full exhibition is entitled Multiverse. (Her 2009 show at the Tish Gallery was entitled Miniverses.)
In the center of the main gallery space is a work entitled “Table For Two” that incorporates foods prepared and arranged by Loher as part of a complex multi-media work. The table in the gallery is the first of a planned edition of five. It sold to a Houston collector two days before the exhibition opened, and a second sold at the opening night artist’s reception on October 14. It’s a delightfully playful work that’s worth a visit to the gallery even if one is not in the market for contemporary art.
This year, the 33-year-old artist has already participated in six solo exhibitions in Europe, South America and East Asia. The Houston show is her last one to open in 2011.
Loher’s works are complex to produce. Indeed, her work strategies more resemble that of a theatrical producer than a traditional artist. After conceiving of a work, she collaborates with a composer of the ambient music used in the works, a costume designer and a choreographer. (Her long-time choreographer is Saori Tsukada, who in turn has a troupe of dancers she works with regularly.) The video is then recorded by a videographer who shares the space she works in, located in an old commercial building in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. The dance videos are then edited together with other images, usually parts of the natural world. Those completed videos are then loaded into flat screen players ranging in size from tiny to several feet across and are incorporated into structures that Loher has had built or – as in the case of her glass Bubble series – blown by craftspeople.
For “Table For Two,” five separate videos were created and then formatted to make circular images on a large flat-screen video player. The player is then placed into a black plastic box that is mounted on a table base. The table is set with a carafe and two wine stems, and the images are viewed through the glass, or in the case of the two “plates,” directly. (Those who can’t make it to the gallery can view the finished work online.)
Loher is an accomplished home cook as well as an artist, and has frequent dinner parties for her numerous collaborators when she is home in Brooklyn. For the “Table” sculpture, she created a series of plates with her signature endive and pomegranate salad and other arrangements of raw and cooked ingredients. But, ever the producer, she has invited yours truly to create some dishes for a new piece she has been planning.
Multiverse by Katja Loher at Anya Tish Gallery, 4411 Montrose, Houston, TX 77006, 713-524-2299