Plastic Bags

COLLECTOR: LÉA RICORDAY, 500 ITEMS

I’ve been collecting plastic bags for the last year. I think I have about 500 printed and plain bags. I started because I wanted to do an artistic project about the society of consumption.

Plastic bags bring together different elements: graphic, tactile (transparency, gloss, feel), sound, and design (construction with gusset, double point collar, flat collar, pierced straps, clip system). They’re a very important piece of our cultural heritage and they will disappear. They’re beautiful on a big wall under a floodlight. The attraction is different for everyone — gloss, transparency, humorous slogans, logos and historical or social relevance. For me they sum up all of these aspects.

My collection has made me more social. I’ve become the ‘plastic bag girl’. a lot of people search for bags for me. My boyfriend is not really in my fan club.
Léa Ricorday, 26, Brussels, Belgium

Plastic bags were born in the 50s and widely distributed by the 60s. Their ancestors are the craft paper bags invented in 1912 by Minnesota grocer Walter H. Deubner so that customers could transport their purchases. In France, the group Carrefour was the first to distribute free plastic bags with logos. Plastic bags take about one second to make using around six grams of polyethylene for a 10 to 30 liter capacity bag, but they last for 400 years.

My favorite is one I found in Rome in 2004. I kept it, but I didn’t start the collection until 2009. It’s light blue and says “Arrivederci e Grazie”. I framed it in an old frame with a gold background and hung it in the living room.

I’ve met one other collector in Toulon, France, but we don’t have the same vision. He’s just interested in the historical and cultural dimension of plastic bags, not the aesthetic.

My collection has made me more social. I’ve become the ‘plastic bag girl’ — a lot of people search for bags for me. My boyfriend is not really in my fan club!