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Speed dating and West African berries in allotment art exhibition

PUBLISHED: 12:00 23 July 2016

The Knowledge of Good and Evil by Jonathan McCree

The Knowledge of Good and Evil by Jonathan McCree


Closer to the Veg sees 16 artists collaborating with 30 plot holders to explore themes of sustainability and destruction, labour and leisure, loneliness and communality.

A speed dating event where participants fling fruit, the ritual planting of the world’s shiniest berry, and an artist surviving in allotment huts are all part of a contemporary art exhibition at Fitzroy Park Allotments.

Closer to the Veg sees 16 artists collaborating with 30 plot holders to explore themes of sustainability and destruction, labour and leisure, loneliness and communality.

“They’re site specific, some are performances and others installations,” says co-curator Olga Mackenzie who earned suppor from plot holder and author of Close to the Veg, Michael Rand.

At the opening party on July 23 Bompas & Parr will be the first to plant a berry indiginous to the jungles of West Africa in British soil.

“They came across the world’s shiniest biological substance at Kew Gardens, became fascinated by it and organised an expedition to Africa to find them.”

On August 4, Pick Me I’m Juicy is a speed-dating evening based around Jonathan McCree’s installation The Knowledge of Good and Evil.

“It’s an architectural recreation of the stocks they used to punish people in medieval times set in this garden of Eden and draws upon notions of judgement.

Jonathan thinks allotments are quite depressing and lonely places and he thought it would be nice if someone met the apple of their eye in one.”

People will be paired up and depending on how much they like their date throw fruit and veg at his artwork.

“It’s the idea of creating an artwork by destroying it. A parallel with what the plot holders work with as the elements destroy or help their work.”

For In A Survival Situation, Dmitri Galitzin moved onto the allotment for a week.

“He’s not allowed communication with the outside world and can only get food from the plot holders in exchange for work.” Hermione Spriggs hopes her Parakeet Decoys will attract the colourful birds to the allotments.

She has been rising at 6am to record the Heaths’ parakeets and uses the sound in her installation.

And Sal Calero has drawn fruit and veg on paper used to wrap up produce from plot holders.

Mackenzie adds: “We wanted to sing the praises to the veg and Michael was keen to do something energetic and unusual on these Highgate allotments.”

Open daily 5pm to 9pm from July 23 until August 7.

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