An Artist's Eye: Portia Munson

'It's a time capsule of a moment'

In a new series, artists exhibiting at Frieze London selected works at Frieze Masters that spoke to them. Portia Munson – whose Pink Project: Table (1994) was exhibited by P.P.O.W. (Frieze London B19) – chose a still life (c.1615) by Jacob van Hulsdonck, exhibited on the stand of Johnny Van Haeften (Frieze Masters E4).

hulsdonck_still_life_c.1615.jpg

Jacob van Hulsdonck, A Still Life... (c.1615). Courtesy: Johnny van Haeften, London

Jacob van Hulsdonck, A Still Life with with Artichokes, Radishes, Asparagus, Plums, Cherries and Peaches in a Basket, together with a Ham and Pig’s Trotters on pewter Plates, a Herring, a Tongue and some Butter on blue-and-white Dishes, Mulberries in a blue-and-white Bowl, a Knife, Bread, Grapes and a Lemon with a broken berkemeyer Glass, all on a Table partly covered by a white Cloth (c.1615). Courtesy: Johnny van Haeften, London.

What speaks to me in this piece is this sense that it’s the ephemera of the day - of a day. It captures what these people were eating and seeing, what was in the house at this moment in time. It’s kind of a time capsule of a moment. In my work, that’s what I am trying to capture also: a time capsule, but of our present, when our objects are plastic.

This painting tells us about life in its culture and allows us a view of people's everyday experience - what food was eaten, from what dishes and bowls, even the way they cut and served their meat. I love the detail - the fly on the plant, the bugs on the leaves, the glass is broken. Because it’s everyday it’s very familiar, but it’s also remote. We can’t really know if the cherries were quite that colour, or why, or how common it was to serve the meat with the bone pointing out like that. I am hoping that in the same way my work will one day be looked on with the same strangeness - that plastic will one day be seen as weirdly as these objects.

portia_musson_pink_project-table_1994.jpg

Portia Musson, Pink Project: Table (1994). Courtesy: the artist and P.P.O.W., New York. Photo: Linda Nylind, courtesy of Frieze

Portia Musson, Pink Project: Table (1994). Courtesy: the artist and P.P.O.W., New York. Photo: Linda Nylind, courtesy of Frieze

Most Read

The Carters’s museum takeover powers through art history’s greatest hits – with a serious message about how the canon...
The 20-metre-high Mastaba finally realizes the artist and his late wife Jeanne-Claude’s design
‘What is being exhibited at Manifesta, above all, is Palermo itself’
A tender new film about the fashion icon and troubled genius whose creative vision ‘started the 21st century’
A survey of 1,016 visual artists across the world finds that the badges of professional success don’t necessarily...
With the 12th edition of the itinerant European biennial opening in Palermo, what do local artists, curators and...
In the age of Brexit, why Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s pledge to return the ‘stolen’ Parthenon marbles has never been...
The museum director, who resigned last year, acted with ‘integrity’, an independent report finds
With the government’s push for the controversial English baccalaureate, why the arts should be an integral part of the...
From Bruce Nauman at the Schaulager to the story of a 1970s artist community in Carona at Weiss Falk, all the shows to...
Sotheby’s and Christie’s say they are dropping the practice of using female-only staff to pose for promotional...
The curators seem set to ask, ‘how civilized is the world’s current state of affairs?’

On View

Latest Magazines

frieze magazine

April 2018

frieze magazine

May 2018

frieze magazine

June - August 2018