Cockaigne




Hub- 09.09.05-05.11.05

Gayle Chong Kwan


Gayle Chong Kwan’s new series of twelve large-format photographs are the latest contribution to the myth of a glutton’s paradise. Each photograph depicts a utopian or mythical landscape constructed out of a single foodstuff. In the land of Cockaigne, all work is forbidden and the rivers run with milk, honey and wine. Ham and cheeses grow on trees, houses are roofed with pies, fences made of sausages, roast chickens drop from the air and pigs have knives strapped to their bellies so that anyone can take a slice of pork. The landscapes may appear to be beautiful and enticing, but on closer inspection, it verges on the repellent; the cheese looks plastic and slimy, the meat is beginning to sweat.

The various scenes share similar horizons; visually linking up a fantastical landscape with a reminiscent of the exotic scenarios in hand-printed French panorama wallpapers created by Dufour in 19th century. Erudite and multi-layered, Cockaigne explores the re-presentation of paradise and the exotic in the global tourism industry, European legend and the history of fine art.

This work is commissioned by Autograph.

Images courtesy of the Artist. Top Left – Republic 2005. Top Right – New Atlantis 2005. Bottom Left – Babel 2005. Bottom Right – Voyage to the World in the Centre of the Earth 2005.