After water, tea is the most widely consumed drink in the world. The act of drinking tea itself is ritualistic – everyone has a set way of preparing and consuming tea. Often thought of as a quintessentially British drink, the history goes back, according to legend, to 2737bc in China.
Links can be drawn between Ana’s works and that of Rachel Whiteread’s practice – where everyday objects are rendered in industrial materials such as plaster, concrete, resin, rubber and metal. Unlike Whiteread, the tea bags included in this install have been outsized – the same distorts the relativity between us and the object. These are no longer items which you can relate to with familiarity, instead they become sculptural. The size relationship between an object and the human body is significant and in changing this, the tea bags displayed becomes less familiar with the objects they are created from and the rituals associated with the drinking of tea.
It is key that Ana’s tea bags are also pyramid shape as these are easily recognisable as being of the PG Tips brand (The pyramid tea bag itself was invented in 1997 by Brooke Bond, the then parent company of PG Tips, and has been championed by PG Tips since). This further evokes feelings of the everyday, and reinforces that these are not typically precious objects to be preserved.
By capturing the tea bags using 3d scanning technology and producing these using a range of materials, Ana has created something that, to me, resembles specimens collected in a museum. There is something reminiscent of entomology in Ana’s works, despite them being of man-made materials and with links to something manufactured that we consume on a daily basis.
How do you drink yours?