Euro Disney shown in artistic pickle: Weeds flourish into an allegory of American culture. Dalya Alberge reports

Click to follow
The Independent Online
TWO American artists were yesterday putting the finishing touches to an arrangement of 48 weeds, which they had picked and pickled. For Kate Ericson and Mel Ziegler, weeds gathered on the outskirts of Euro Disney blossomed into a sculptural allegory on culture in the US - as unwanted in France as a weed in a bed of roses.

Ironically, they were preparing to show the pickled plants just as the creditor banks were meeting to discuss the fate of the theme park, whose siting near Paris has not proved a bed of roses.

Vinegar of the 48 Weeds is one of several exhibits in a show opening tomorrow at the Lisson Gallery, one of the leading contemporary art galleries. It marks the London debut for two artists who have worked together for the past 15 years, setting out to challenge 'preconceived ideas about the function of art'.

They said their Euro Disney piece had involved wandering round the perimeter of the theme park, picking poppies, thistles and clover - and enough weeds to represent each of the 48 attractions in the theme park.

They then bought a variety of clear bottles in a Paris flea-market. Each bottle was engraved with a name of one of the attractions, such as 'Smuggler's Cove', then arranged according to the map of the park.

But their work did not end there: they gathered seeds from the weeds and returned with them to the theme park to plant each seed next to its relevant amusement. 'We were pretty paranoid,' Mr Ziegler said, recalling the fear of being spotted by one of the many guards. 'We had seed packets in our pockets. We'd secretly take them out and rub them into the flower-beds.'

The Lisson show is shared with Tony Oursler, a New York sculptor, also exhibiting for the first time in London, who 'deals with the underside of the seemingly utopian culture of American urban life'.

Among his exhibits at the Lisson are floppy dummies and dolls spookily brought to life with video images of moving, talking, grimacing faces; and Violation, Transformation, the artist's comment on family ghosts. This is a sculpture in which a pair of Y- fronts is among a handful of crumpled, well-used old clothes draped over wooden poles. Mr Oursler said: 'I invite people to sign their name on them.' A 'Kristin' and an 'Agnes' had already taken him up on the offer.

Euro Disney losses, page 35

(Photograph omitted)

Comments