Artist Marco Ugolini sees the supermarket as a great enabler. In its aisles, across its shining expanses of tiles, he sees humanity wiggling under the thumb of corporations and their master manipulator marketing stooges. That may be the point of his arresting Per Color portrait series (done in collaboration with photographer Pedro Motta), but turning shopping baskets into single-color (black, white, red, yellow, green, and blue) 3D collages won't cut down on disingenuous advertising. Instead of making an overt statement, the series plays wittily with the purpose and process of a shopping trip, offering up an organizing principle that makes no sense given the context.
When we shop, our aim is to get what we want to eat, not to find enough, say, red products to fill a basket. We are reminded of swanky private libraries organized by book cover color, not author, genre, or title. You can't find what you're looking for, but it sure looks nice when you're staring up from a plush chair. In Ugolini's case, when he wandered into a Brazilian supermarket and saw red, he stacked up Ajax, peppers, cayenne, Brahma beer, a waxy round of cheese, instant coffee, Pringles, and some cookies. Practically speaking, meal-wise, what could you actually do with such a spread? Of course, as Ugolino notes on his website, none of the baskets actually made it to the register. In other words, no one's diet was harmed in the making of this art.