Introducing Rakewell, Apollo’s wandering eye on the art world. Look out for regular posts taking a rakish perspective on art and museum stories.
Artists have been depicting fruit and veg since time immemorial, and have variously used them as symbols of mortality, fertility, gluttony and – in the case of the wretched apple –temptation, sin, and the loss of innocence. From ancient Greek kore statues to Dutch still lives to Arcimboldo’s fruity heads, artists have been going bananas for the stuff.
And they haven’t lost their taste for fresh produce. Michael Landy made his name with a series of works relating to grocers’ stalls at street markets, and Laure Prouvost uses oranges, onions and carrots in her installations. More recently still, an LA art collective called Fallen Fruit has produced a map of fruit trees across the city’s public spaces, and has even begun planting fruit trees throughout the city.
However, all this pales in the face of the latest trend sweeping Instagram. You guessed it: avocado art. According to Time, the avo’s ‘supple yet firm’ flesh provides the ‘optimal canvas for culinary artists to make a miniature-sized masterpiece’. The trend appears to have been kicked off by Daniele Barresi, a 26-year-old who claims to have been ‘turning fruit into unique artworks with just a knife’ since he was seven years old.
Fun though it looks, would-be avocarvers would do well to heed the advice of the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons, who last month advocated placing safety warnings on the hipster friendly fruits. ‘There is minimal understanding of how to handle them,’ said leading plastic surgeon Simon Eccles, who claims to treat about four patients a week for ‘avocado hand’ – that is, injuries sustained while attempting to cut into the fruit. So there you have it. Should you wish to follow in Daniele Barresi’s footsteps, you may wind up suffering for your art…