At first glance it looks like a flawless Christmas feast: succulent red lobsters, a juicy ham, tiers of mince tarts. It sits untouched in the main lobby of The Hotel Windsor, never fading or rotting – frozen in time. That’s because it’s an art installation made of icing sugar, fondant and food dye.
The Hotham Street Ladies is the group behind the work. The artists, Cassandra Chilton, Molly O’Shaughnessy, Sarah Parkes, Caroline Price and Lyndal Walker, lived in a share house in their late twenties. There, the five discovered a shared love of food and art.
“Our work revolves around food and feminism,” says Chilton. The group’s past works included a cake honouring deceased singer Amy Winehouse, and feasts inspired by mothers’ auxiliaries and the Country Women’s Association.
“Icing is obviously very pretty and delicate. We want to use it in a more contemporary manner, so we can talk about excess and consumption as well as the social side of food and dining.”
The installation took a grueling 100 hours and 50 kilograms of icing sugar to complete. Chilton tried to keep the group motivated by bringing some Christmas spirit.
“I made a Christmas mix tape that no one wanted to listen to apart from me, and I’m Jewish,” Chilton says.
“Instead we chat about everything while working, it’s an incredibly social process.”
The exhibition draws inspiration from The Hotel Windsor’s annual Christmas lunches, while celebrating its 132nd birthday.
The installation is free to view and is on display in the main lobby until January 5, 2016.