Thirty-year Aftertaste

Deborah Levy waxes nostalgic in Freize magazine about an installation seen at Kettle’s Yard three decades ago.

“The installation that most preoccupied me was the fly that Hammons had placed in a bowl of sugar and titled A Fly in a Sugar Bowl (1990). As I remember it, this was a round tea tray set with a paper mat inscribed with a gentle ink illustration of some sort of plant. Maybe flora from the plantations on which enslaved children, women and men planted, harvested and processed the ‘white gold’ for their brutal overseers. Placed on the mat was a porcelain bowl filled with white sugar and, nestling in this sugar, was a black fly.

It would be true to say that Hammons’s fly has been stuck in my head for 30 years.”

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