Collecting unwashed forks might seem like a strange artistic practice but, with friends in the right places (read: working at luxury catering companies), it takes on a whole new meaning.
For the past 15 years, the Melbourne artist and activist V-T-R, real name Van Thanh Rudd, has been overseeing the “swiping” of cutlery from high-class hotel restaurants and function rooms, where the world’s richest and most powerful have been wined and dined. And now a selection of these forks – in all their greasy, grimy glory – are ready to be ogled by the rest of us.
“When the 1% eat in various luxury hotels around the world, they’re served by thousands of hotel workers who have access to the cutlery they use,” Van, the nephew of the former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd, told Guardian Australia. “I worked in that particular area of the hospitality industry in the late 1990s and, to some of us, swiping their dinner forks from under their noses didn’t seem out of the question.”
And so we find greenish goop rusted on to a silver fork once held by Prince Harry; a tiny strip of meaty fibre munched on by Clive Palmer, clinging to the lower two tines; Hillary Clinton’s pilfered prongs left almost bare but for a few yellowing crumbs.
Although I have a feeling that it would not catch on here. It’s Private Eye isn’t it which runs that “spoons” column? It would, here, just be too obvious what the inspiration was, doing in real life the spoof of the idiot celebrity column.