Installation leaves best kind of sour taste

Artist used salt to transform dinner party setting at CCFM exhibit


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This article was published 09/01/2013 (3800 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Elvira Finnigan gives a whole new meaning to putting salt on her food.

Finnigan’s current installation (multi-faceted piece of work) — titled Feast and Aftermath — is currently on display at Centre culturel franco-manitobain, located at 340 Provencher Blvd. The work is part of the artist’s long-term, ongoing project entitled Saltwatch.

The exhibit will be on display until Sat., Feb. 2 (closing reception will be between 2 and 4 p.m.) and there will be an upcoming mid-exhibition viewing and new year’s reception at the centre on Thurs., Jan. 10 from 5 to 7 p.m.

Supplied photo
Elvira Finnigan’s installation Feast and Aftermath is on display at Centre culturel franco-manitobain at 340 Provencher Blvd.
Supplied photo Elvira Finnigan’s installation Feast and Aftermath is on display at Centre culturel franco-manitobain at 340 Provencher Blvd.

To create the installation, Finnigan reconstituted sea salt by cooking it to increase its density and then covered numerous items on a long dining table, including plates, dishes, glasses, desserts, salads, bread, cheese, wine and coffee in the brine.

The artist — who lives in Osborne Village and shares a studio in North Point Douglas — said the concept behind the installation is to “preserve a moment in time and attempt to preserve food and literature using salt.”

“At the opening of the installation, it looked like water with a bit of crystallization and it’s now quite crystallized, so you’ll see lots of change,” she said, noting the exhibit kicked off Dec. 12 with a private event featuring readings by Collectif Post-néo-rielistes — a group of St. Boniface-based writers, poets and playwrights. “Now it looks quite beautiful and the salt has leeched and formed patterns. It’s beautiful and little bit repugnant at times.

“If you go to the show, you’ll see time-lapse images from that event, which look like a movie,” Finnigan added, noting that her love of cooking played a role in the installation.

“I set out to preserve a moment, but it changes as it adopts a life of its own. I like to cook and it’s also about the idea that preservation means deterioration at the same time.”

Finnigan — who is also involved with the organization Mentoring Artists for Women’s Art — noted the “interesting juxtaposition” having the exhibit located in the gallery next to CCFM’s restaurant.

Simon Fuller
Simon Fuller Finnigan's installation is part of her long-term, ongoing project called Saltwatch.

She also produces “single channel videos” that have been shown in screenings in Canada, the U.S. and Japan.

To learn more, visit

Simon Fuller

Simon Fuller
Community Journalist

Simon Fuller is a reporter/photographer for the Free Press Community Review. Email him at or call him at 204-697-7111.

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