ECONOMIE / ECONOMY / WIRTSCHAFT
Maison Belge Supermarché de l'année, 2001
Maison Belge, Supermarché de l'année refers to a similar installation and exhibition called Supermarché de l'Année, which was set up by Angel Vergara in the Belgian House in Cologne in 1995. There, the artist created a supermarket where only apples were sold. Vergara put this supermarket in opposition to the art fair in Cologne, which took place at the same time.
Angel Vergara wants to show that there is more than just the economic cost of an artwork: actually, selling a piece of art is only selling the materialisation of an idea, the ideas themselves are not for sale. What’s involved here are transactions, the relationships between people, the exchange of ideas or the selling of things.
Straatman - one of Vergara's alter egos - is always present in one way or another. Here, in Maison Belge, Supermarché de l'année, he is behind the counter of the shop. His supermarket where only apples are for sale is a parody on consumption and trade. The presentation is very aesthetic: a carefully painted blue shop, everything neatly stacked, repetitive visual effects. In ancient times, the apple was a symbol of love and fertility. Vergara uses the apple as a symbol of erotic and spiritual drive, as a healthy counterweight to the economic forces undermining art. His apple supermarket serves as an answer to remedy the brutal pursuit of profit.
Maison Belge, Supermarché de l'année is also a collage: image and word overlap each other. Vergara's notes on the canvas and the lines refer to his various actions. The painting is a kind of journal, the result of movements, sounds, scents, observations, thoughts and memories.