Frutas 31 is an ongoing, collaborative time-based sculpture by artists Leah Dixon and Christian Dietkus Lord. Drawing on the tradition of Flemish Vanitas painting, the project updates the genre within a Latin American framework, as a critique of exoticization, commerce and excess.
The first installment of the project was made for the Nicaraguan Biennial 2014. It consisted of a performance in a public square in which tropical fruits were lacquered to a state of plasticized perfection, and then installed within the gallery of the Ortiz Gurdián Foundation Art Center. In order to document the transformation of the fruits from a plasticized state to a state of decomposition, a camera was mounted to a handmade tripod. The tripod was constructed from waste items found at the site of the performance. The decomposition process was documented over the next thirty-one days.
Frutas 31 (NY) translates its Nicaraguan predecessor through a series of Vanitas photographs of tropical fruits within handmade vinyl shopping bags. For this project the same fruits purchased for the Nicaraguan installment, were purchased in NYC and placed within vinyl enclosures. The clear vinyl sacks served not only as lenses, but also as living biospheres for the fruits. After being initially photographed, the bags were sealed and allowed to rot until the fruits were reduced to colored skins floating in festering juice.