Rows of clay pickling jars, a grand piano sitting atop a mound of chili peppers bordered by cabbages, carrots, mixing bowls and plates may not sound like a very provocative and meaningful work of art, but there is, in the world of artist Lo Sen-hao (
Entitled Art for Eating (
While visitors to the center may look at and touch the fine homemade pots and stare in wonder at the spicy chili-encircled piano, these works are in fact only a minor aspect of his exhibition and ones that allow the artist to ask a bigger question; "what is the social significance of the pickled vegetable?"
To prepare viewers for his flavorsome and thought-provoking exhibition, Lo decided to set the mood for his offbeat interactive display in the best possible way.
At the opening ceremony, guests were invited to bring all the ingredients for their favorite pickled vegetable dish, and, in the plush surroundings of the German Cultural Center, Lo asked them to slice, dice and make pickles.
Art purists may consider the artist's current work to be less than conventional, but such outlandish behavior is nothing new to Lo. Over the years, he has made a name for himself as one of Taiwan's most offbeat artists with a passion for creating outrageous installations and provocative interactive art works.
In 1997, Lo turned heads when he created Mirage (
Mirage may have proven to be an eye-catching display, but his interactive work The Banquet (
Like Mirage and The Banquet, Lo's latest work is one that relies heavily on viewer participation. In an attempt to entice interaction between his work and the outside world, Lo is asking viewers to consider the importance of pickled vegetables. Visitors to the cultural center's 12th-floor gallery is asked to write a short story about how pickles have affected them, or played a part in their lives.
"Pickles were once a very important and significant foodstuff in Taiwan. People ate them all year round, and, when times were hard, pao cai was often the only form of nourishment families could afford to eat," said Lo. "Everyone has memories of eating pickles, and because of the this I think the social significance of pickled vegetables is next to none."
It took Lo three months to complete his 90 pickling pots and it will, he hopes, take a mere month and a half to fill them with pickled recollections. Each time he receives a new story he puts it into one of the pots. The final aim is to see each of the 90 individual pots with its own distinct pickle flavor inside.