An interesting exhibit called “Wheat is Wheat is Wheat” recently opened at the San Francisco Museum of Craft & Design. The designer, Peddy Mergui merges two worlds; high end brand names and basic grocery store items. The purpose: to make us question what it is about the look (and name) of a certain product that make us value it more. (AKA: Branding!)
His exhibit creates a world where Tiffany makes yogurt, Dolce & Gabbana make biscuits, Nike sells fruit, Apple has a milk product, and Ferrari creates pasta. The phenomenon of “prestige” and “luxury” as a consumer validation is a constant theme throughout this exhibit. What does the consumer actually purchase when he or she pays top dollar for a “BRAND” of wheat/flour or table salt?
In an interview with the website SF Gate, Mergui explains that the main point of his art is to show what he believes consumers are truly obtaining when they purchase designer branded luxury products — and that is they are buying something they lack in themselves.
While I don’t completely agree with that, his art IS thought provoking and makes me think about how I have let brand names define my own choices in the past. Any art that can engage the viewer and make an impact like that is a GWH W.T.F. (Winner, Toss-Up or Flop) WINNER in my book for sure.