<em>Petroleum Manga</em>

Marina Zurkow
The Petroleum Manga, 2012
Solvent ink on Tyvek
Dimensions variable

The Petroleum Manga is a suite of pictures depicting everyday oil-derived products such as garbage bags, water guns, plastic chickens, balloons, food containers and credit cards. Organized on the gallery walls in a grid similar to the periodic table of elements, each object is classified by chemical origins including PET, PVC, HDPE, PMMA, polystyrene, polyurethane, ammonia, nylon, and paraffin; yielding haiku-like rebuses that explore our needs, pleasures and fetishes.

This collection of varied and ubiquitous items are a play on Hokusai’s fifteen volumes of Edo period sketches (manga), which he meticulously categorized with bizarre taxonomies – predecessors of today’s endlessly configurable clip art libraries and sequential art. Stylistically reminiscent of industrial assembly diagrams, the series of still lives is printed on Tyvek, an indestructible polyethylene material resembling paper, which is archival but non-recyclable.

Pairing the notion of infinite plasticity with the pop-consumption of images, the specific prints exhibited on the gallery walls will later be given away to the public, forging a process of “upcycling” as new objects are created of the Tyvek with audience participation.


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