Lobster and shrimp on my plate, I need my pockets so fat they inflate. Vol.3: Transportation

An exhibition by Robin Phoenix Whitehouse and Todor Rabadzhiyski

16 May – 27 June 2024

Opening: 16 May, Thursday

Accompanying event:
18 May, 17:00–21:00 | European Night of Museums, in the presence of the artists

The exhibition is realized with the support of Singer-Zahariev Foundation and the National Culture Fund.

“Lobsters in the sea, its climbed the economic ladder,
rising from the ocean’s depths,
food for poor people and prisoners, all the way to a
fancy restaurant, portraying high-class toxic hierarchies.
But what have the Lobsters felt?
They’ve been boiled and cut from their back to the tip of
their tail
they’ve been snapped and cracked, squished and licked,
sucked from their strong shell transformed into the idea
of hedonism and affluence.”
— Robin Phoenix Whitehouse and Todor Rabadzhiyski

“Lobster and shrimp on my plate, I need my pockets so fat they inflate” is a durational project that started three years ago and delves into the culture and changing economy associated with lobsters. In the third showcase of their ongoing project at Swimming Pool, artists Robin Phoenix Whitehouse (UK) and Todor Rabadzhiyski (BG) are looking at how the lobster has been reinvented through the ages, considering how marketing has portrayed a certain image of the lobster that is becoming an analogy for the current time.

The industrial developments in the late 1800s slowly led to lobsters’ wider appreciation and heightened status. With the introduction of railway and tinned goods, lobsters could be caught and transported to cities inland and eaten by a completely different group to the coastal communities who lived off its abundance. In “Vol. 3: Transportation”, the artists are focusing on the import and export in trade that affect the position of lobster in contemporary culture. The exhibition covers a wide range of media – from sculpture, painting and video to installation built by the physical presence of lobsters. Paintings and prints show a somewhat romanticized timeline of the animal, starting as a historical art reference and leading to hypothetical depictions of it in the future. Plastic fish boxes have been collected by the artists from ports in The Netherlands into which their aluminum lobsters have been packed and transported across Europe in the back of vans. The artistic use of aluminum for casting refers to the materials that facilitated the change in the status of the object: tin cans, industry and mechanism of transportation facilitate the distribution of millions of lobsters across the world. For the occasion of the exhibition, 50 kg of lobster remains from a high class seafood restaurant in The Netherlands have been displayed at Swimming Pool. First frozen in the artists’ studio, then they are bundled into suitcases and flown together with Robin and Todor to Sofia.

Videos from Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 of the project are presented at Swimming Pool, showing the acts of the previous exhibitions – “Vol.1: The Catch” in Laak Club, The Hague (NL) in 2021, where the artists staged pulling porcelain lobsters from the depths of the sea, and the second act “Vol.2: The Market” with performed exchange and sale of lobsters in a fish market, then exhibited at TRIXIE artist-run space, The Hague in 2022.