Kate Forde believes dirt is precious to life.
The British art historian has showcased dirt in different contexts in an exhibition at London’s Wellcome Collection. “The variety and scale of the waste produced in our factories is the uncelebrated evidence of industrial and economic progress,” says the curator in her introduction to Dirt, a book published to accompany the exhibition. The exhibition includes the astutely observed paintings of Pieter de Hooch, a 17th century Dutch artist, who captured maids sweeping, mopping and washing pots in austere surroundings.
A highlight of the exhibition is an installation of five giant slabs made from human faeces, by Santiago Sierra, a Spanish artist. These long, dark blocks look smooth and hygienic. They are the product of a collaboration between Sierra and Sulabh International, an India-based sanitation charity. The exhibition runs till August 31.
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