By the lemon tree, 2018, Oil on linen, 55.5 x 43 cm
The United Nations has designated 2021 the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables (IYFV), to raise awareness of the important of fruit and vegetables for everyone. To mark IYFV 2021, we have brought together a selection of artworks from the Arts
Council Collection that feature fruit and/or vegetables. Artworks in this showcase span the history of the collection, with earliest being dated 1964 and the most recent being dated 2018.
Here, Sven Sandberg, whose work is featured online showcase, tells us more about the featured artwork as part of the Arts Council collection. Explore this and more from the Arts Council collection at instagram.com/artscouncilireland/
“I am writing this on the forty-ninth parallel… The fruit, however, is not particularly good. I ate some nice pears, but I am longing for grapes and figs.” So begins Goethe’s obsession with fruit in his Italian Journey, in particular the fruits of the
south and classical antiquity. On the forty-eighth parallel, still in Germany, he tastes his first figs. They are delightful, but overall he is unimpressed. Not until he crosses the forty-sixth parallel, and finally in Italy, is he satisfied: “The
figs and pears are delicious, and no wonder, since they ripen in a region where lemon trees are growing.”
Fruits, like people, travel – Goethe passes peaches and grapes heading north. One could say Goethe himself travelled south to ripen: “I have not had a single idea which was entirely new or surprising, but my old ideas have become so much more firm, vital
and coherent that they could be called new.” Van Gogh of course is another who went south to ripen, where lemon trees grow under the “immense lemon yellow disc” of the sun, or darken in “a sickly lemon yellow sunset, mysterious, of extraordinary beauty.”
He spoke for both when he asked, “Who are the human beings who currently inhabit the groves of olive trees, of oranges, of lemons?”, and both longed to be, for a time, one of those inhabitants.
Since 1962, the Arts Council has been buying art from working artists. The Collection that evolved tells the story of modern and contemporary Irish visual art in a unique and fascinating way. Today the Collection continues to grow and is comprised of
more than 1,200 artworks including sculpture, painting, performance, print, video, installation, and photography and other works, many of which are on display in public spaces all over Ireland for people to experience and enjoy first hand.
You can find out more at: www.artscouncil.emuseum.com.