Kasia Fudakowski

In 2011 an exhibition which bore the ominous title ‘40 columns for Africa’ took place in the former Senate Reserve building on Cuvrystrasse, informally known as the ‘Speicher der Angst’, (Storage of Fear). This building was one of many built in West Berlin after the blockade of ‘48/49 to store six month’s worth of provisions in case of another blockade. A solid concrete high-story bunker, each floor was inhabited by large, spiralling, red, grain slides and thick-as-you-like concrete columns. As much of the stores would go rotten before they could be used, West Berliners were also encouraged to maintain a personal stock of necessities under the title ‘Operation Squirrel’, which was largely ridiculed by the populous.

40 Columns for Africa’s preparation was a six month period fraught with interpersonal problems, curatorial obstacles, artistic differences and catastrophic levels of good intention. The original sculptures created for the show, consisted of a number of empty black framed columns which displayed various shoddily made, right-footed, paper shoes. A knee-jerk response to the paralysis caused by the exhibitions theme.

When the exhibition was over and the sculptures returned to the studio, the frames took up unjustifiable space. Even stacked, they robbed four square meters of working floor space, and continually bore witness to the anguish of 40 Columns. In one afternoon I destroyed all except two, winning both space and peace of mind. The Fear Storage building was also pulled down shortly after to make way for new office spaces. They kept the slides.

The two saved frames were spared because they could still be of use. Now they sit on either side of me in my small kitchen, stoically holding up plastic bags of sorted rubbish, justifying the half meter squared that they occupy. And the rubbish is beautiful. Seen through the lightly opaque white of the plastic, left-over spaghetti spells out words, shrimp heads reanimate between off-cut parsley and dried tea-bags, and yellow melon slices curve around loo rolls if I’ve had guests. To celebrate their reanimation, a dinner was held with a menu based entirely on the beauty of it’s waste.

Serves approx.10.

Preparation time: 1 full day, including drying time.

150g of Butter
lengths of Re-bar steel, (10mm suggested diameter)
4-5 2mm electrodes/Coil
Leather apron
Leather gloves
Welding helmet
2 Lemons
20g Freshly chopped parsley
2 Translucent plastic bags
4 Bull-dog clips for fastening
1 Lobster
Salt and Pepper to pinch
1 Grinder with metal cutting blades
10 Garlic gloves
Lettuce to garnish

Measure the distance between the floor and the middle of your knee for the height. Multiply this number by 4 and keep separate. Add your preferred widths and lengths. A good width is around 28cm and for the length I suggest 38cm. Multiply each of these numbers by 4, and then add them together to the height, and you will have your total re-bar steel length. Choose your preferred steel profile; round is suggested for joining ease and around 10mm diameter. Purchase this from your local ironmonger, and set aside.

Prepare a container by punching regularly spaced holes in a Styrofoam box and ask your local fishmonger to recommend a lobster. Make sure the container remains horizontal at all times. When killing the lobster, place it on a sturdy surface and position the tip of a sharp knife blade just behind the head. The exoskeleton should have a handy cross to help you find the right spot. Insert the blade quickly and bring down the bottom of the blade through the front of the head. Even though it may still be moving, it can no longer feel any pain as you will have severed the main nerve. If you feel unsure at this point, quickly throw them into a boiling pan of water. Boil until ‘lobster red’ or for 2 mins.

Before you do this, take your re-bar steel and cut it into your preferred lengths; 4 x the height, 4 x length and 4 times the width. Assemble one rectangular frame on a wooden board made up of 2 widths and 2 lengths. Spot weld the joins together. Repeat.

To connect these two frames, construct a template to hold your frames at 90 degrees to the height lengths, and spot weld. When you have the complete cubiod, tap away the excess slag from the welding beads and re-weld to strengthen.  Set aside to cool.

Cover a steel tray with aluminium foil. Chop up the parsley and garlic, and add to 150g of pre-melted butter. Remove the lobster from the

water, place on the tray and drizzle garlic butter over the top. Place in a warm oven.

When your cuboid has cooled you might like to paint it with an anti-corrosion paint, or simply a black lacquer. Using spray paint is the quickest but most costly option. Clip the translucent plastic bags inside the top frame of the cuboid with the bulldog clips.

Remove the lobster from the oven and place on a bed of fresh lettuce, sprinkle with the parsley and serve. Any exoskeleton and napkins should be collected up and thrown into the translucent plastic bags.


Kasia Fudakowski is an artist living and working in Berlin. She’s currently a fellow at the Villa Romana. Recent solo exhibitions include Bad Basket, Lodos, Mexico City, 2017; Tap & Die, Performance at 1646, The Hague, 2016; and Meat in the window, worried by a wasp, a major solo exhibition presented at Futura, Contemporary Art center, Prague, 2016.