Le grand chou d'or, silk, batting, wire, 90 x 90 x 90 cm

In the 13-15th centuries, a contagion of revolts swept through Europe often led by a growing middle class of craftspeople and peasants. After the Plague dramatically decreased their numbers, they seized their newfound power and demanded from the ruling elite more just levels of taxation, fair wages, fair rent, the right to citizenship and other measures of equity. These uprisings often ended in brutal suppression, and most surviving records of them contain obvious bias as they were produced and maintained by the elite whose control they targeted. Reading between the lines of these accounts alongside a study of crafts of the era, the perspectives of those who led these uprisings are reimagined and commemorated through a series of workshops, sculptures, watercolors and videos. 

The cabbage is a reoccurring motif as it was a staple in the diet of lower classes in this period. There was a belief that evil spirits lived in cabbages, and so by ingesting cabbage, evil also lived within these people, acting as another system of oppression.

This work is made possible by:
Triangle – Astérides
Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe

Samuel K. Cohn, Jr., Popular Protest in Late Medieval Europe: Italy, France and Flanders (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2004).
Samuel K. Cohn, Jr., Lust for Liberty: The Politics of Social Revolt in Medieval Europe, 1200–1425 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2006).
Melitta Weiss Adamson, Food in Medieval Times (Westport: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2004).
Jack Hartnell, Medieval Bodies: Life, Death and Art in the Middle Ages (New York: W.W. Norton & Co, 2018).