The 2.5 x 2.5 metre biscuit tin installation by Christine Turner is featured in the current curated exhibition Art + Food: Beyond the Still Life at Brenda May Gallery in Sydney. According to Turner, “I have found that biscuit tins require a simple configuration when presented in artworks. Each tin provides a great deal of information of its own. Information about societal customs, the economy, consumerism and much more.” Most people, when viewing the work, circle the parameter recognising tins from their own mother’s and grandmother’s kitchens. The installation draws on people’s nostalgia for familiar things and a certain time or place. The recipe below, provided by the artist, is for an Anzac biscuit, a hard cookie made of rolled oats, coconut and golden syrup. Because of their long shelf-life, the cookies were often sent by the wives of soldiers to the men overseas; hence their name (ANZAC – Australian and New Zealand Army Corps).

Christine Turner, Lifescape, 2012, mixed media – biscuit tins,
250 x 250cm (dimensions variable), Courtesy the Artist and Brenda May Gallery, Sydney

Turner again states, “In our house, the biscuit tin was only brought out on the weekends for afternoon tea. A humble suburban ‘high tea’. One that I relished. Central to this ritual was the beautiful treasure trove…the Arnott’s biscuit tin. It came with a 3 lb(pound) ‘fancy assortment’ of our favourite biscuits, from the delicate Shortbread Cream, to the decadent Monte Carlo. We always ate the Monte Carlos first. Once the biscuit tins were empty they became ‘reliquaries’ for all manner of things. Needlework, gloves, letters, keepsakes of every kind.”

Lifescape can be viewed at Brenda May Gallery until Saturday 20 October as part of the curated exhibition Art + Food: Beyond the Still Life.

{Anzac Biscuit}

Recipe provided by the artist Christine Turner

4 ounces butter
1 cup coconut
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon golden syrup
2 tablespoons boiling water

Melt butter and golden syrup, add baking soda which has been dissolved in the water. Mix in to dry ingredients.

Cook for 10 to 15 minutes.