October 18, 2011 — The sculpture exhibit, "Touched by Virginia," at the University of Virginia's Ruffin Gallery closes Oct. 22 with a special event.
The event, which begins at 4 p.m., will be held in conjunction with "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death," an installation work by artist Adam Wolpa. His sculpture consists of an arrangement of symbolic elements – a crate, crocks and other tools – around the central event of the lactic acid fermentation of making sauerkraut.
Two 3-gallon crocks resting atop a shipping crate house the transformation, which began during the Sept. 30 opening reception, when performers cut heirloom cabbage from Wolpa's native Michigan, then salted it and tamped it into the crocks.
This sculptural process lasted the duration of the exhibit.
"This piece addresses its own historical past and makes a specific reference to 'Condimentalism,' an exhibition at the Fayerweather Gallery in 2001," said Wolpa, who graduated from U.Va. in 1996 and was a Fifth-Year Aunspaugh Fellow. "It also finds meaning in the American Revolution, baseball, gem and mineral collections and minimalism."
The focus of the piece is fermentation – not as a metaphor, but as a phenomenon. Fermentation is a process that gives or makes life out of entropic rot, Wolpa said. It also exhibits principles of activism, as a subversive do-it-yourself strategy, he said. "Let's enjoy not only the amazing health benefits of a live food, but even more, let's savor the delicious and decadent, all organic Michigan sauerkraut!"
The crocks will be opened and the heirloom artisan sauerkraut will be given free to all who attend. Attendees can bring a container or use one supplied by the Ruffin Gallery.
After the heirloom artisan sauerkraut has been given away, the installation tools and vessels will be cleaned and returned to their crate. The crate will travel to the Beverly Street Studio School Gallery in Staunton, where the process will be repeated starting at 5 p.m. on Oct. 28, just prior to the opening reception of the second installation of "Touched by Virginia."