(Cochabamba, Bolivia, 1984)
By detecting magnetic fields, eels migrate to the Sargasso Sea to reproduce. They leave their rivers behind and swim out into the ocean to meet what scientists call “their life’s goal”, after which they die. Their offspring then swim back to the rivers, thousands of miles away. Each eel travels at its own pace, arriving before, during or after spring. Their last journey is a lonely one, whereas new-borns make their way back to the rivers along with others, and share a life together there.
Like the visible bits of the viscous animals in an actual eel soup, the objects presented in the work ‘Eel soup’ are fragments of an ephemeral reality. Carefully observing spaces and body parts as they twist, press, open, bend and touch, Federico Clavarino and Tami Izko use photography and clay as the media to reinterpret a series of meaningful connections. Ultimately, the resulting series tells a story of coexistence, one that is largely built around the lingering images left behind by otherwise vanishing intersections.
The book version of this work, which has been exhibited on multiple occasions, weaves together several of its ramifications: views of the installation, images of the studio the artists shared in Milan, photographs of the sculptures, and sculptures made out of photographs. The book also documents its own coming into existence by featuring images of the wall that was used to work on its sequencing, as well as interviews the artists conducted with one another. The book itself, like a bowl of eel soup, challenges our faculty of telling things apart from each other, be they people, artworks or other forms of life.