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Sam Taylor Wood- “Still Life” (2001)

March 9, 2010

Still Life
Edition of 6
35mm Film/DVD
Duration: 3 minutes 44 seconds

This time-lapse film of peaches ripening and then rotting draws upon the conventions of still life painting, as its title suggests. “Still life” was coined in the 17th century to describe artworks that depict inanimate, household objects and very frequently food. The term first implied painting, but has now come to encompass photography and digital artworks. Paintings of peaches by Fede Galizia, Renoir, and Cezanne all offer familiar iterations of the genre which depict perishable objects in an eternally preserved state. Sam Taylor Wood’s work examines what is not ‘still’ about the still life. The four minutes which collapse the decay of a bowl of peaches foregrounds the inevitable passage of time, perishability, mortality, and disappearance. Wood’s photography and film often deals with similar themes, though with the exception of second film, “A Little Death” (2002), usually examines transience and temporality, preservation and death through the human subject.

For more Sam Taylor Wood check out White Cube.

Peach and Arugula Salad with Blue Cheese

This recipe encompasses the various stages of decay depicted by “Still Life”– ripe peaches move closer to decomposition through cooking and encounter the mold of the film in the form of blue cheese

Serves 6-8

  • 2 1/2 tablespoon good balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime (or lemon) juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh (or a pinch dried) thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (preferably sea salt)
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 firm-ripe peaches (1 1/2 lb total)
  • 1/4 lb thin slices prosciutto
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 oz baby arugula (6 cups)
  • 2 1/2 oz finely crumbled blue cheese
  • Coarsely ground black pepper to taste
  • Whisk together first 4 ingredients in small bowl.

    Peel peaches, cut each into 6 wedges. Wrap prosciutto around each wedge so that the peach is entirely covered by meat. Heat remaining oil in skillet until hot but not smoking. Cook wedges in batches until prosciutto is browned on all sides, about 5 minutes per batch. Transfer to paper towel to drain. Keep warm until served.

    Divide arugula and warm peach wedges amongst plates. Dress with emulsified dressing. Sprinkle with blue cheese and fresh pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

    Please respond in the comments box to the recipe, the art, and your experience of consuming the artwork.

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