December 3, 2023 - April 7, 2024

National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia
Installation view of Fernando Laposse’s works from the Conflict Avocados project on display in NGV Triennial from 3 December 2023 to 7 April 2024 at NGV International, Melbourne. Photo: Sean Fennessy



          Coupling design with material research, Conflict avocados interrogates the recent history of the avocado plant and the ramifications of its rapid increase in popularity. Native to Mexico, avocados have traditionally been grown sustainably in the region, where they are a reliable food source; however, global demand for the fruit, particularly from the United States, has altered the rate at which the plant is farmed, resulting in ecological destruction, violence and civil unrest. In the Mexican state of Michoacán, where the majority of the world’s avocados are grown for export, cartels take advantage of the lucrative trade in the fruit, engaging in illegal logging, violent land grabbing and intimidation to garner control of the profitable avocado industry. This has led to the avocado being categorised as a ‘conflict’ commodity.

          Together, the furniture, large-scale textile and film presented in this work spotlight the human and ecological casualties of Mexico’s avocado industry. Through the development of new techniques for using material from the avocado plant, the work shares the potential for design to address not only aesthetics but also ethics, while also forming a record of current cultural and economic conditions. Revealing the dynamics embedded in materials, Conflict avocados provides a lucid account of the social, economic and environmental ramifications of global consumption.



          Combining the absurd with the real, Fei Yining creates fictional worlds and speculative narratives across digital media and sculpture. Her sculptures, originally made to scan into her digital animations, appear monstrous and are inspired by horror and suspense writers, such as Edgar Allen Poe and The Scarlet House writer Angela Carter. Offering her creations as pieces of furniture, she juxtaposes their grotesque nature with utility. Here, in Duke of Apple in the Vile Oubliette, her creature leans back into the shape of an armchair. The artist seems to challenge us, asking if we would want to sit in such a peculiar and unsettling piece.

Installation view of Yining Fei’s Duke of Apple in the Vile Oubliette and Lucy Bull’s 20:59 on display in NGV Triennial from 3 December 2023 to 7 April 2024 at NGV International, Melbourne. Photo: SeanFennessy
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