Artists to Serve Radioactive Soup at Frieze London

United Brothers (Ei Arakawa and Tomoo Arakawa), Does This Soup Taste Ambivalent? (2014). Photo courtesy of Frieze London.

Two Japanese artists are offering visitors to this year’s Frieze Art Fair in London the chance to try a soup made from vegetables grown in Fukushima, the Independent has reported.

The soup’s main ingredient, daikon radish, was grown in Fukushima where, in March 2011, an earthquake and subsequent tsunami caused a local nuclear power plant to melt down, contaminating the surrounding area with radioactive waste.

Ei Arakawa and his brother Tomoo, who call themselves the United Brothers, were born and raised in the affected Fukushima prefecture. The artists plan to fly their mother from Japan to London to prepare the broth at the art fair. The performance, entitled Does This Soup Taste Ambivalent?, is meant to express the pair’s solidarity with those affected by the nuclear disaster.

The artists insist that the soup is safe to eat and have assured Frieze organizers that the vegetables have been approved by the Japanese Farmers’ Association. Frieze director Matthew Slotover told the Independent “They are flying in vegetables. They’ve been tested, they’re safe, but there’s clearly a psychological barrier.”

The Frieze catalogue explains “The gift of food represents the essence of hospitality, sharing and humanity. However, the soup United Brothers offer is laced with the (conceptual) possibility that it may be radioactive.”

The artists will be serving the soup daily at Frieze Art Fair, free of charge.

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