Smashing Potatoes

An overgrown spark-plug bucket is covered with a wanna-be earthiness. A messy moss that will take more than a crop of spuds to render it fertile.  The cultural lesson about nature burying all the evidence of human presence is a silent marker of disagreement. On the streets of Zurich near the Viaduct arches, this parts supplier is rusting into the iron-on soil.

The elevation of the earth bound potato, in comic colours, may readily pale the memory of french-fries, rossti, roasted and mashed versions.  The cosmic colours of this Lichtenstein spud in the Kunsthall in Zurich point the way to a digital future.  Imagine digital fries.  OK I digress, but hamburgers at the arches were more expensive than raclette. Yet between the gallery and the potatoe patch there are markers.

Spring has sprung and the wintered roots in he herb garden are emerging as visual garnish.  Marked carefully so the spring gardeners will not disturb the emerging delicate new growth. There, through the loam rich soil a maggi (lovage) plant springs up in the herb garden. The label alludes to a “maggi krill” that in the late thirties became a “nestle” packaged food distributed with abandon in India.  The product was rumored to be unhealthy and the manufactur claimed conflicting research. The addition of fresh lovage enhances soups by pre-preparing the palette.

Speaking of stacking the deck…. When sea containers are removed from a ships deck and stacked they produce office, living, storage and visual space.  The exterior staircase points to both the futility and current status of the containers.  Speaking of nature conquering, potatoes reclaiming the land and the admission of the “lowly” spud into our diet we needed to overcome our historical bias. van Gogh during his sojourn with the potato planters captures the same poverty and earthy love in “Peasant and Peasant Woman Planting” as he did in his more familiar work “The Potato Eaters”  The juxtaposition of the van Gogh work with the Lichtenstein image in the Kunsthalle in Zurich could leave one hopeful or despondent.  Will the potato (one could think nature) save us from starvation or lull us into corporate sleep-speak?

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