Jewel-Encrusted Rotten Fruit Is a Study in Appearance vs. Reality

They say not to throw pearls before swine. No one said anything about combining jewels and rotten fruit. Enter the work of Argentinian artist Luciana Rondolini, a peculiar study in paradox.

For her 2011 installation Tiffany, Rondolini bejewelled rotting pieces of fruits—bananas, apples, oranges, and more—turning each into a sparkling, glittering oddity. Inspired by the famous quote in Hamlet, “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark,” Rondolini’s juxtaposition of high-glam luxury and organic garbage shows the contradiction between the facade and the interior.

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All images © Luciana Rondolini

“Fruits covered with fancy gems are reflections of the ambiguity, which is what one wants in the immediacy of the moment or quality of novelty, compared to its real value and perishable condition,” she explains in his artist statement.

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Each piece was carefully handcrafted. Together, they are oddly enchanting, only proving our mesmerizing attraction to jewels no matter how they are presented to us. Whether it’s a diamond-encrusted rotting apple (surely faux) or delicate pieces embedded into the brown skin of a banana, the glitz outshines the decay.

And although the visuals are powerful enough on their own, the installation was made all the more impactful as viewers were confronted with the stench of the rotting fruit while touring the exhibit. Lucky for us, we can simply enjoy the photos from afar.

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See more of Rondolini’s work on her site.

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