Toasted bread and Food

Texto: FA+ & Ivan Ivanissevich

Bread and food in all forms and meanings are recurrent themes in the work of Falk and Aguerre. They reoccur throughout the years in different projects, prepared, tasted and eaten in different ways, taking advantage of the subconsciously symbolic tension which most people associate with food. The confrontation which is found within the unexpected uses of this symbol, food, causes unease, anguish or revulsion. Examples are found in Luciaís bleeding bread, or when the artists encourage the public to walk on the bread in Reliquias, and even in the aggression that brought La Donnaís demise.

Toast, which was made for the 1997 Stockholm Art Fair, is another work where bread is used and its symbolism is questioned. Toast is a large picture, five metres long and two and a half metres high, totally made from bread toasted different temperatures and for different lengths of time to reach the different nuances that occur between black and white, ochre and rust. It took seven days of work and several friends and their toasters to prepare the 1.428 pieces of toast necessary to build the gigantic mosaic, which viewed up close, resembles a beautiful abstract picture but when viewed from a distance most closely resembles a photograph of a toaster.

The sum total of toasted bread is a toaster. But in reality itís in the morning between yawns holding a cup of coffee or tea when we are confronted with the quintessential question about the toaster: does it work?

In this piece of work, we break down the daily pattern of this piece of kitchen machinery. The toaster toasts and when it does this it reproduces itself. The use of the object and the responsibility that we give to the material (in this case the bread) to change, transforms the pictures and the area of representation within them. But yet still, this transformation does not guarantee a representational figure in the traditional sense: the viewer moves between the instability of physical closeness, where the picture is erased but the individual pieces of bread are identifiable, and distance, where it is possible to reconstruct the picture at the expense of the image of the bread. As in all the work by FA+, there are many things happening on many levels, at the same time.

The reproduction of the photograph is an example of this in this work. The original work was digitised in 1428 pixels where every pixel corresponds to a piece of bread which is roasted using analogues. This usage means that the digital picture can be recreated.

Another method of working with food is using it as a means of representing a situation. Dinner is a concrete moment in our daily life where many different meanings are connected to the meaning of our own existence.

The artists FA+ have used the liturgy of mealtime as an activity, event or performance to provoke and encourage different situations to come to the fore.

Using food as a connector, the artists have brought together people from entirely different worlds. Documentation from these events, in the form of photos, videos and objects collected for later use, has often been the starting point for other installations, as in the dinners in the Smitta/Contagion project.

The dinners in that event were transformed into a video installation The Dinner Event which was used in Stockholm at an exhibition entitled New Swedish Art at the Modern Museum of Art, as well as in the exhibition Just for the Record at the Royal Art Academy in Stockholm, with a series of photographs of objects from the meals Dinner on Dinner, including excerpts from dinners held in Milan and London.
Another aspect of reality is presented here through these works, as reality is defined via artistic expression/ or artistic action. Further, artistic action is deeply integrated in reality. The idea which began with Lucia continued in Masters off the Universe, in which problematic beauty, which is lodged in sensibility as well as intellect, is examined through the way in which the concept challenges the viewer.

(Translation by Tsemaye Opubor Hambraeus, international journalist)

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