WHILE the idea of an exhibition on rotten food may not sound particularly appealing, the photo exhibition of Austrian photographer Klaus Pichler, entitled One Third, found in its subject a strange though decorative type of beauty that made visitors forget what they were seeing.

From exotic fruits to mundane mashed potatoes, the series of photos shows the connection between individuals throwing food away and its globalised production. Thus, the rotten food decoratively arranged in still lifes creates an abstract image of wasted food.

Pichler himself gave a guided tour in the Central European House of Photography in Bratislava (SEDF) where the exhibition took place in February and early March, explaining the technicalities of creating rotten meals in a one-bedroom city flat (and the sense of relief after the objects, often in quantities of 20 crates of rotten vegetables or fruit, vanished for good to be replaced by other artistic objects), according to one participant.

“This orange, cultivated on a plantation in South Africa, harvested and transferred to Europe by plane and truck over a distance of 15,000 km, sold in a supermarket and finally, although still in good condition, discarded by the consumer. Fiction? Fact! Wasted food around the globe has increased to worrying dimensions: according to a study commissioned by the UN and carried out in March 2011, one third of all food products go to waste worldwide,” the text accompanying Pichler’s project from 2011-2012 reads.