Raúl Ayala Ortega, Food for Thought

10 August - 8 September 2018

On Friday 10 August, Raul Ortega Ayala prepared and served the alleged menu of the iconic Last Supper to 12 members of the public. The table and leftovers remain exactly as they were left by the participants, and will slowly decay in the gallery accompanied by video documentation of the meal. In the darkroom, a two channel video installation titled Tomatina-Tim juxtaposes revellers throwing thousands of kilos of tomatoes at each other during the Tomatina festival in Spain with a professional American gurgitator who eats 40 hotdogs in 10 minutes. Other works including figurative paintings and a large text-based work, and a reading room complete the exhibition.

Ortega Ayala is a Mexican born artist who lives in New Zealand. He considers his art practice as a space for continuous learning and enquiry that is informed by extensive research. He immerses himself in the study of different topics for long periods of time employing a variety of methods from different disciplines including Anthropology. All of the works in ‘Food for thought’ are part of his exploration into the meaning of food beyond bodily sustenance. Taking cookery and butchering courses in different parts of the world, working in jobs in the food industry, and conducting extensive reviews of food’s vast bibliography all contributed to Ortega Ayala’s immersion into the world of food. Around 30 works and numerous field-notes comprise this series, resulting primarily in time-based works, sculpture, painting, performances and happenings.

Currently, Ortega Ayala is developing work on Collective Memory and Social Amnesia through the detritus of recent history. He exhibits internationally and is represented by Proyectos Monclova Gallery in Mexico and Dürst Britt and Mayhew Gallery in the Netherlands. His work is part of private and public collections, including the David Roberts Art Foundation, London, the Akzo Nobel Art Foundation and the Lisser Art Museum in the Netherlands amongst others. He is Associate Head of Whiti o Rehua, School of Art, at Massey University.

Installation Views