THE SECRET DISAPPEARANCE OF CAULIFLOWER
THE SECRET DISAPPEARANCE OF CAULIFLOWER!
An ambivalent feeling that arouses around the concept of home has become the inspiration to create this work. Home evokes associations with warmth and security, but it can also be associated with something repulsive, hidden, repressed and shameful. A similar ambivalence is also present in cauliflower. When cooked It is warm and tasty, but while boiling, it emits a distasteful smell.
Based on the theme of boiled cauliflower -which appears in Polish literature in both Gombrowicz and Prus- I prepared an aroma-flavoured installation for the exhibition at Art House in Krakow, entitled “THE MYSTERIOUS DISAPPEARANCE OF CAULIFLOWER”. In Witold Gombrowicz’s short story entitled ‘Dinner at Countess Pavahoke’s’, Cauliflower, which is the name of the son of a farmhand, is the central motif. It is endowed with a double meaning, since it is both a human being and a dish served during Countess Pavahoke’s dinner. This dinner is organised on Friday, the fasting day of the week. The narrator is a writer invited to this Friday dinner, and he expects to have conversations about beauty and love. But what he experiences is not this, but rather the increasing misbehaviour of the other three persons at the table in relation to eating cooked cauliflower. During the unfolding of those events, the increasingly terrified writer realizes that this is caused by two seemingly unrelated but in fact connected events, namely, the disappearance of the boy named Cauliflower and the dish served at the dinner he is attending. This conclusion is further reinforced by the fact that the aristocrats themselves suggest cannibal tendencies of the higher classes.
In the story by Gombrowicz, the cauliflower appears in two forms – a tasty dish and a boy’s corpse. The main theme of my installation is the disjunction between the unpleasant smell of cooked cauliflower and the pleasure of eating it. This ambiguity calls to mind the very concept of home. A similar theme can be found in Bolesław Prus’s novel “Doll”. In the story, the embarrassing odour of boiled cauliflower spoils the first impression that the main character Wokulski has of Mrs. Stawska, who is introduced to him by the old salesman Rzecki, who describes the event in his diary.
Art House is situated in an old bourgeois house of approximately one hundred years old and was owned by the merchant Mr. Truszkowski. I presume that many of its corners have a smelly secret.