Artsy: You've engaged with the themes of food and drink—of satiation, appetite and intoxication—in the past. What is the significance of “Dumplings,” the title of your new show
Mathias & Mathias: The title “Dumplings” works on more than one level. One is a pun on the word itself—“dumb.” In our discussion leading up to making these works, we reflected on the dumbing aspects of manual artistic labor. If you paint vegetables for too long, we thought, you become a vegetable yourself.
When discussing food themes, we always return to the ideas of eclecticism, of use and reuse, of making things new while constantly keeping tradition in mind. For example, in our 2014 show “Ribollita,” named after a hearty Tuscan peasant soup consisting of the previous day’s leftovers (primarily stale bread), the central object was a large Baroque-style concrete fountain filled with water, bread, nuts, and fruits from the garden where we constructed the fountain. Also hidden in the muddy water were sculptures from a former exhibition. The fountain was functioning normally, but the water was shooting slightly out of bounds: it was not following its ordinary task, it was not a closed system, but rather something that consumed itself and it's raison d'être.
Food and cooking serve as a an allegory that is both bodily and abject. A pot can easily be a fountain. Bread could be, at certain times, for certain people, a symbol of flesh. When working with food themes, we find that there is something deeply humorous at stake—and then sometimes something urgent and troubling.