As mere civilians, we often look on in awe as the rich and famous attend their flash meetings, posh lunches and decadent launches. It’s the stuff that keeps trashy tabloids in business: all those red carpet pictorials and who’s-dining-with-who gossip-column inches.
But what happens when we get down to the nitty-gritty and study the detail of the remnants of said conventions and nosh-ups?
We discover that these people are human, after all. Or at least that their dirty cutlery is just like that left on our dinner tables after a meal, as is shown in a rather bizarre exhibition by artist, Van Thanh Rudd.
For the past 15 years, Rudd has cunningly been overseeing the theft of cutlery from five-star hotel restaurants and function rooms – where the world’s most powerful and famous have dined.
He’s so far amassed an amazing array of dirty metal and, deciding to leave them in their crumb-spotted state, is hosting an exhibition of the cultery soon to tour the world.
As freakish as it might sound, there is a certain fascination in studying the dried-up muck on a fork once used by Prince Harry, or the crumbs stuck to a fork held by Hilary Clinton.
If Rudd’s surname rings a bell, we’ll let you know he’s the nephew of ex-Australian Prime Minister, Keven Rudd. And while there’s no sign so far of cutlery swiped from the dining table of his uncle, there is a piece of silverware once eaten from by Rudd’s politico counterpart, Julia Gillard.
The artist says part of the aim of his fork-swiping project is to “take back” from the rich, famous and powerful – although how potent a bunch of silverware will be in a class-war, we’re not quite sure.
A political activist (which he does on the side of all that cutlery-collecting), Van Thanh Rudd has caused a bit of a ruckus himself on the Australian parliamentary circuit.
In 2010, three months before Julia Gillard drove out his uncle from government, Van announced he would run against her in the Melbourne seat of Labor, albeit for the Revolutionary Socialist Party.
Then, in 2011, the radical was removed from the Australian Open after delivering an anti-racism protest dressed as a member of the Ku Klux Klan.
Van’s current ironic display, entitled ‘The Rich Forks’, will be exhibited at Footscray Community Arts Centre in Melbourne from Thursday 5th May 5th, before the cutlery is packed off for exhibitions abroad.
Some 40 filthy forks feature in the collection. Antonino Tati