Olfactory sound installation, 2017

Reflection on Still life with ham and lemon by Maerten Boelema de Stomme (ca. 1640-1644)

The installation creates the opportunity to engage with the central object on Boelema’s still life, the half-peeled lemon, from a contemporary perspective. 

The history of citrus fruit was often interwoven with hierarchies of power: precarious working conditions and exploitation, as well as uprisings and protests are part of this story. The auditory aspect of the work brings you closer to the conditions of contemporary orange production in Southern Italy —rendering a somewhat bitter taste to the otherwise luscious fruit. 

The work explores the connotations of the tangy fruit, and at the same time stimulates the sense of smell and hearing.

Strange fruit, displayed between the still life of Boelema and De Zaaier by Constantin Meunier, deals with the role of the agricultural worker and the ethical aspect of food production and consumption. You are invited to perceive an odor called Valencene Pure - a recently developed natural alternative to the smell and taste of oranges created with fermentation.

Can the introduction of such substances, in the long term, change the local economy of a region that relies heavily on the production of a certain type of food? Do they have an agency to influence the situation of workers in a sector? The installation also encourages you to speculate about these future possibilities - and about the symbolic meaning of the fruit today.

Special thanks: Isobionics, Match
Interview fragment kindly provided by research group Bitter Oranges (c Carole Reckinger, Diana Reiners, Gilles Reckinger)


Judit Szalipszki (1988, Budapest) is a cultural worker based in Rotterdam (NL) and Hasselt (BE), with a background in contemporary art, media and communication. The current research of Judit focuses on socially engaged art involving food as a medium, as well as potential narratives around the future of food.