UPDATE: Progress of Decaying and Decayed Sculpture and Artist Heikki Leis

My project work is incredibly inspired by the work of Heikki Leis in his project AFTERLIFE. Unlike photographer Heikki Leis, I do not have the facilities to leave things moulding for months and months but these are limitations I am working with throughout my investigation and I am continuing to make work in other ways regardless of the restraints. Heikki documents decay in its raw state and makes something that has been left out for far too long look incredibly beautiful.

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 Most people have pulled long-forgotten vegetables from their refrigerator’s depths at least once, and just the memory is enough to make a stomach turn. But one man’s fridge mold is another man’s still life. Estonian artist Heikki Leis’s AFTERLIFE project is highly relevant to my project. It is a veritable rotting cornucopia of vegetables photographed long past their prime.

I like that Heikki’s project was almost accidental. He says: -“I was inspired by some potatoes I had once left out in a pot for too long. They had started to mold and on closer examination the colors and textures looked interesting enough to take some photos,” Leis then started experimenting with various fruits and vegetables. He sometimes let them decay for two months, keeping them covered so they wouldn’t dry out. When Leis finished, he was truly finished. He says -“I’m tempted to say I ate them, but the truth is I just threw them away.”

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The two perspex boxes that are full of fruit and vegetables have unfortunately had to be thrown away. Just as Heikki Leis did, I had photographed them and documented them for all I wanted so just got rid of them. My Box sculptures have progressed to such a state of decay that it was unpleasant to be around them. It was highly interesting to be able to document the stages of decay and I believe it has helped me understand the moulding of food better and therefore be able to produce art work initially inspired by it far more successfully. The changes that these boxes have been through include: – the development of mould, sweating, shrinking, emitting liquids, growing furry spores and finally gaining an infestation of fruit flies. This is a documented time period in itself. These changes will definitely continue being influential to my painting and mixed media work. Knowing the processes from life will help me capture a more realistic approach especially when producing images of things that don’t necessarily exist.

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The Bread and Teabag boxes continue to rot away. I believe that the bread mould is the most successful decaying sculpture as it has probably undergone the most change but has also stayed the most intact. I also feel that this kind of mould is the most interesting and exciting to capture through mixed media techniques. Even though I have stopped documenting two of the boxes, they images that I have acquired throughout this process feed into and will continue to influence the progressions I make throughout my project and investigation into decay.

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