The Taste of Banana

Mokkou Yamagen

在水果王國中香蕉永遠是最時尚的,不然Andy Warhol幹嘛要在唱片封面上畫香蕉?前年在某個年度藝街展中,還有藝術家用膠帶把香蕉黏到牆上當藝術品,索價就要19萬,雖然最後被某個觀眾把天價香蕉吃進了肚子,不過那是另外一個故事了。而如果要把水果都擬人化的,那香蕉就算不是個年年拿獎學金的模範生,也肯定會是班上最受歡迎的同學。

來自神奈川県的Mokkou Yamagen,是由夫妻檔Genki Nishiyama和Mizuki Nishiyama組成的木工品牌,主要從事傢俱設計和生產,然而讓我注意到他們這個品牌,卻是來自他們做的木頭香蕉!這個直接命名為「Banana」的木頭工藝品,還原程度之妙,從遠看還不一定分得出來是真蕉假蕉,湊近一看時才發現香蕉上還保留著木紋,而這些木紋本不屬香蕉所有,卻也使這一個木頭雕飾「有機」了起來,彷彿被賜予生命一樣。


There is no doubt that bananas top the world’s most celebrated fruit icons, why else would Any Warhol slap the image of a banana on the cover of The Velvet Underground & Nico’s debut album? The fruit even made it to one of the most high-profile art fairs, duct-taped to a wall and asking for HK$190,000. The extremely expensive banana was consumed by a member of the audience (a performance artist), but that’s another story. If one were to personify the fruit, the choice would be one between an exemplary, scholarship-winning student and everybody’s favourite in class.

Hailing from Kanagawa, Mokkou Yamagen is a husband-and-wife duo, Genki Nishiyama and Mizuki Nishiyama, who specialise in woodworking spanning intricate furniture and cabinetry. What impresses me, however, is their impression of bananas. From afar, the aptly titled “Banana” seems uncannily realistic. Upon closer examination, the object comes alive with wood grains, which signify its fluidity straddling the natural and the artificial.

“Banana” comes in four styles varying in colour and material: light-toned Japanese nutmeg-yew, teak, the intricately grained figured walnut, and lustrous rosewood. Even for someone who’s not a fan of the fruit, it’s hard to resist the sheen of Mokkou Yamagen’s wooden banana in the sun.