Duende Collective, a French design studio based in Paris, was recently commissioned by La Cuisine, an alimentary arts center in Nègrepelisse near the Midi-Pyrénées region, for a forthcoming exhibition examining the early relationship between mother and child. The exhibition, which will open this coming September, will focus on the prenatal role of the placenta and the post-natal role of mother's milk, both as means for establishing the early bond between mother and infant, and as conveyance of nutrition.
Entitled, "La Part des Anges," which translates as "the angel's share," the exhibition will feature a number of objects that investigate the cultural significance of the placenta as sacrificial organ, along with several pieces of jewelry derived from plasticized human and animal milks.
Needless to say, many of the objects, laden as they are with symbolism, veer directly into the realm of sculpture. Gaelle Gabillet's Container for burying placenta (top right), fabricated from 100% biodegradable sunflower plastic, while forming a functional burial casket for the postpartum placenta, could just as easily find itself on a gallery pedestal. A series of "Angel dust memory" urns posits the revival an ancient Egyptian tradition in which the pharaoh's placenta, as guardian angel, was housed in a specially built temple (example above left). The "Perle de lait" range of jewelry, such as Oncle John's milk pendant (above right), imagines an era in which mothers send off feeding bottles of their own breast milk to create personalized mementos of motherhood.