Artist Helmut Smits makes shockingly clever work from surprisingly ordinary materials. In fact, his recent sculpture simply turns one common substance into another by distilling Coca-Cola back into clean drinking water in a work called “The Real Thing.”
Smits originally made a version of the work back in 2006, which consisted of an installation where Coca-Cola could be manually filter back into clean drinking water. This time, he developed a distillation process with University of Amsterdam masters student Martien Würdemann that simply collects the water vapors from a heated Coca-Cola bottle in a separate container, and then has minerals added to it to make it potable.
Although there are a lot of interesting conclusions that could be drawn from the content of this work, when asked what his intentions were when he decided to make the sculpture, Smits explained, “I just want people to laugh and then hopefully think about the sh*t that they consume.”
“The Real Thing” is on display as part of Dutch Design Week 2014 and can be seen in an exhibition called “Sense Nonsense” at the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, which runs until November 9th.