‘Tastier’ at Space 1026, July 5 – 26, 2013


Space 1026

1026 Arch Street, 2nd Floor

Philadelphia, PA 19107



an solo-installation by

Leslie Friedman

7.5.13 – 7.26.13


“Real Coke taste with zero sugar. It’s possible.”


July 2013
7.5.13 – 7.26.13

Tastier, an installation by artist Leslie Friedman, expands on a body of work which made its debut in Tasty, a solo exhibition held at Napoleon Gallery in February 2012. Tastier is a site-specific installation created for the expansive gallery at Space 1026 and, while it continues to explore the pervasiveness of sugar substitutes in the diets of those residing in the Western World, Tastier will pose new questions with a series of provocation panels and a short animation.

Leslie Friedman finds herself apprehensively looking towards a future where engineered simulations and stimulations progressively come closer to the real thing: the essentials of life itself. What does it mean to make the core part of life a mere substitute? How does this change the human experience?

The artist strips away the sleek black packaging of Coke Zero, which has been omnipresent in advertising and attracting consumers since June of 2006, and replaces that with candy coated colors. Sugar substitutes, like those contained in Coke Zero, as well as name brands like Splenda and Truvia, are ubiquitously available.  What do these substitutes do to our bodies and our minds? It is in this exploration that Friedman makes the connection between Coke Zero, other sugar substitutes, and pornography. Sex is a life affirming activity that, like sugar, can be substituted or simulated. Friedman does not find herself against pornography or sugar substitutes per se.  The delightful complication of Friedman’s installation resides in her own veneration of Coke Zero as a product that delivers such an accurate simulation of the original. More and more simulations are progressively improving and coming closer to the real thing. In the future what will it mean to be human? How will we satisfy our human needs and desires?

Space 1026 is an artist collective, collective run gallery and studio workspace. Founded in 1997, it is located in Chinatown, Philadelphia. It is a base to over twenty working artists, offering them opportunity to create work and build relationships. The mantra of Space 1026 is, and always will be, “Do it yourself with other people.”  Aside from the opening of Tastier, visitors can stop by the gallery at any time by appointment. Parking is found on the street.

Leslie Friedman currently lives and works in Philadelphia. She has exhibited both nationally and internationally. Her art is built upon the visual strategies of commercial spaces, merchandising, and advertising. Employing subversive content within her work, she seeks to transform spaces into bright, glossy, sparkly surfaces, while using non-precious, industrial materials like Tyvek, mirror, linoleum tile, wood, and cardboard. Currently, the artist also has an installation on view at The Philadelphia Museum of Jewish Art entitled Mis/Constru(ct)ed Identities and was just named a winner of the Fleisher Wind Challenge 2014.

To download a version of the preceding press release, click Tastier_Press_Release

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