We appear to worship celebrity and to believe in its magic touch. These potatoes are just potatoes, but having been purchased by Tate Modern and exhibited as part of an installation, Kartoffelhaus, in the major Sigmar Polke retrospective, they have been completely transmogrified, and without physical alteration, into magical, blessed potatoes. And in this book is the story of their rescue.
An artist friend went to the exhibition and wondered, being a horticultural type, what was going to happen to the potatoes. At end of the show she was given the potatoes; over 300 of them. A mercy dash was organised and the potatoes expedited back to Wales where they were shared out amongst the local artists. My share sat in a plastic box on a window sill. While I thought about what to do with them they became shrivelled and wrinkly and started to sprout desperately. I gave them water, but they didn’t seem any happier or more lively, As punish their lack of gratitude they were left to dry out.
So what does one do with mummified potatoes? The answer is clearly – they need a sarcophagus. Humans have human shaped sarcophagi so potatoes should have potato shaped ones. A sarcophagus was made, modelled on a huge potato, divided into six parts gave a space for each of those blessed potatoes to rest in peace and bring good fortune to artists who request their help in their artistic endeavours.