It is clear that artist and designer Peddy Mergui has a desire to challenge the status quo in his creations, partly stemming from growing up amongst various cultures, in Morocco, Israel and Japan. He’s worked on a multitude of advertising campaigns and has helped to create brands worldwide, which only makes his latest venture all the more interesting.
Wheat is Wheat is Wheat is Mergui’s first solo exhibition, about to open in San Francisco. In this series, he has taken the packaging of basic commodities (eggs, milk, butter, oil) and introduced high end brand names (think Gucci and Versace) into their labelling, providing them with a new identifying element. The resulting products are definitely food for thought as it were. Both individually and collectively, the striking images within the exhibition allow for open dialogue on consumer culture, ethical boundaries and the design world.
The connection between packaging and products is recognisable in modern culture, although not often logical. What would it mean to eat Tiffany&Co yoghurt or to make your morning coffee with Cartier coffee beans? Mergui’s pairings are playful and even amusing; drawing the viewer in and simultaneously challenging them with a provocative undertone. What kind of challenges do designers face in terms of economic interest versus integrity? As consumers, do we inadvertently support unethical conditions? Do we perceive certain brands as meaning we belong to a certain type of group, as a certain type of person?
Mergui found: “The interesting part is that most viewers tell me they see something they want in the exhibition. Why? Not for the playfulness of it, but for what it makes them feel. The Seduction presents us with a mirror to ourselves.”
Wheat is Wheat is Wheat definitely poses more questions than it answers and this is the most enjoyable aspect of the exhibition. It is a truly eye opening series that will inspire debate – and make you question your purchases on your next shopping trip!