The Gentlemen's House 2021
1/5 The Living Room; Victoria Sponge
2/5 The Kitchen; Summer Pudding
Brexit has surprised us many. Countless daunting and irrational development that doesn’t seem to add up, especially on the dining table. For a sweet tooth union whose many candied bakes served their people well for longer than history can retell, the reliance list on their neighbours’ supplies for its scarcity is as lengthy. More than half of the UK’s consumption of summer soft fruits are imported. Of which a loyal stockpile is imported from The Netherlands, either from its reliable greenhouses or fertile soil. With the introduction of Brexit, these short shelf lives berries' journey across the Channel from the lowlands has become complicated. While pre-Brexit custom-free mobility proves effortless and straightforward, the freshness of such summer fruits is now challenged by newly introduced paperwork, trucks filed in confused beelines at Calais and the eventual inflating prices raiding consumers' wallets. It is sadly a sort of suicide attempt. An act to rid of a country’s needs and (food) culture. In this interpretation, such political repercussion is called Brexit Softscape.
The Gentlemen’s House is another artistic attempt to illustrate a food-related agenda we consumers are experiencing, paired up with a matching spatial environment as companions. In this series, portray as the domestic backdrop, the visuals are captured in the handsome modernistic Herenhuis "Huis van Ravesteyn" in Utrecht. Built by the renowned Dutch railway architect Sybold van Ravesteyn who’s portfolio includes numerous rail stations spread over the country, van Ravesteyn completed this house for him and his family in 1932. The features of this house merged the tail end Art Nouveau influences of feministic curves with a subtle mix of streamlined clarity of modernism. Warm wooden utilitarian interior seamed by polished steel framework echos trains cabins furnishing. The spatial quality whether in shared or private spaces is ample and welcoming. We intervened The Gentlemen’s House with an open explorer's mind, by inserting the narrative of Brexit's softscape while highlighting the articulated features of the house.
Art direction & concept: Phyllis Wong
Photography: Pim Top