A South Korean art student said that he was “hungry” when he had a banana that was a component of a well-known work by the Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan. At the Leeum Museum of Art in Seoul, Noh Huyn-soo was seen on camera boldly removing the banana that was duct-taped to the wall, peeling it, and eating it in front of shocked spectators before reattaching the banana skin to the wall with the same tape and leaving the area with a happy grin.
The encounter, which lasted for more than a minute, was caught on camera by a friend of Noh’s who attends Seoul National University. According to the Korea Herald, Noh explained that he had skipped breakfast and was therefore hungry when the museum asked him why he had eaten the banana.
He then admitted to thinking that “damaging a work of modern art could also be [interpreted as] artwork” and that the notion to reattach the peel was “just a joke,” according to the broadcaster KBS. “I thought it would be interesting,” he continued. Is it not there taped to be eaten? Every two to three days, the banana, which is a component of Cattelan’s Comedian installation, is replaced.
When told about the event, Cattelan, a New York-based performance and sculpture artist, reportedly said, “No problem.” It has happened before that banana from the office was mocked. A banana was taken out of the piece during its premiere exhibition at Miami Art Basel in 2019 and consumed by performance artist David Datuna. Even though Cattelan was “a genius,” Datuna later told the Guardian that he disagreed with the enormous sum of money made from a banana that only cost 20 cents.
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Before Datuna arrived to consume the fruit, the first and second editions on display at Miami Art Basel both sold for $120,000 (£95,640). Another was put up for sale for $150,000. In the past three years, I have visited 67 different countries, and I have seen how people live, according to Datuna. “Millions are going hungry and dying. And after that, he offers three bananas for $500,000 on the wall.
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Cattelan, who was born in Padua, is renowned for creating provocative works of art that subvert culture. One made news in September 2019 as it was torn from its exhibition wall during an overnight heist at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire—an 18-carat gold toilet named America with a value of £1 million. Environmental protestors vandalized a Cattelan sculpture of a middle finger known as Il Dito (the finger) but formally known as L.O.V.E. in front of the Milan stock exchange in January.
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