Buying instant noodles is okay in middle class circles as long as you call them ramen, says Matthew de Kersaint Giraudeau in a recent Munchies interview. The 29-year old artist is interested in this phenomenon: How we attach cultural value to things that are essentially the same.
Pouch, 2014. (Cheetos, semolina, vegetable oil, salt, human hair, Sour Bubblegum Ball, Hip Hop Candy, KA Strawberry Flavour Drink, roofing tile.)
That’s one of the ideas he explored in his recent solo exhibit, Communal Juicing, at London’s Space In Between gallery. A lot of his work incorporates edible ingredients, but this isn’t like the cutesy food art brightening your Instagram feed.
Pierced Form, 2014. (Cheetos, semolina, vegetable oil, salt, tobacco, Super Strongbow, Mini candy sticks, roofing tile.)
For his Cheesedough Series of sculptures, Giraudeau used “culturally abject” materials that society has deemed unworthy in some way, like the kind of junk food middle class people wouldn’t eat. Pierced Form is made out of Cheetos, semolina, vegetable oil, salt, tobacco, Super Strongbow cider, and Mini candy sticks. Pyramid also has Cheetos, semolina, vegetable oil, and salt, as well as Koba Curry Flavoured instant noodles, powdered curry flavoring, and something we all hate finding in our food: hair.
Pyramid, 2014. (Cheetos, semolina, vegetable oil, salt, hair, Koba Curry Flavoured Instant Noodles, curry flabouring, roofing tile.)
While the objects don’t exactly look appetizing, they’re still presented in a food-like way. The colorful “sauces” and roof tile “plates” aren’t that far removed from the artful plating employed by some high-end chefs. His Protuberance Series is a little more uncomfortable. Here he ups ick factor by incorporating bodily fluids and making the pieces “reference bodily forms.”
Bowl, 2014. (Cheetos, semolina, vegetable oil, salt, hair, plastic forks, KA Pineapple Flavour Drink.)
Protuberance #3, for instance, is made with clay, Creatine powder, glue, semolina, vegetable oil, hair, gastric acid, Walkers prawn cocktail crisps, indalca, and lycra. Others in the series contain actual saliva, vaginal fluid, and even semen.
Left: Protuberance #3, 2014 (Clay, creatine, rabbit skin glue, semolina, vegetable oil, hair, gastric acid, Walkers prawn cocktail crisps, indalca, wet look lycra, board.) Right: Protuberance #1, 2014 (Creatine, rabbit skin glue, hair, semen, wet look lycra, board.)
While this might gross you out, it could also challenge you to remove the positive and negative values we’ve (somewhat randomly) placed on these materials, and just think of them as an object like any other. Although maybe start small, with the Coke and grape soda.