Wednesday, 30 May 2012


Here are some visuals from the Pavlova exercise we did on the first week of the course. It might be useful for you to look through this when you are making your art recipes.

Remember we start with an image e.g Anna Pavlova

Then we match words to the image, e.g. light, floaty, sweet, elegant, feminine

Then we think about how this may be visually represented in food, e.g. the Pavlova Dessert

Remember this dessert was specifically designed to please her- it flatters her by mimicking some of her visual qualities (most obviously the ballet skirt).

Look at these images of our contemporary Pavlovas- I think in some of the detail shots you get a really clear idea of the different 'character' of each.

 Kate Middleton Pavlova

Regular symmetry, use of 'rich' colours- gold and silver, not over the top- very suitable for a Royal. And in this close-up the slight distortion makes it look a bit like a wedding dress

Abstracted wedding dress

This has a totally different feel to the Pavlova made for Lady Gaga....

Crawling lines like spider-webs, use of red and black, energised, excessive composition- all helps to convey something much darker and edgier...

Evil detail

And finally our Beyonce Pavlova...

Beyonce Pavlova

Energised, fun, uplifting- conveying a sense of her as a performer or entertainer.

Party detail

When you start to write recipes to descirbe your images remember to try to find defining qualities for the image-

What makes it unique?

What words best describe it?

How can these observations be translated into a recipe?

Sunday, 27 May 2012

What can we cook for Picasso?

In an old recipe book I found this anecdote,

"One day when Picasso was to lunch with us I decorated a fish in a way that I thought would amuse him. I chose a fine striped seabass..."

This is interesting because it tells us some things about Picasso
1. That he was a very particular and demanding individual
2. That he would notice the colour and line of his food

The cook expected Picasso to look at the seabass in the same way that he would look at a painting.

How could we re-design a seabass so that it amused Picasso?

Notice the regular geometric pattern of the scales, the repated angular forms of the fins and tail. This translates easily into a Cubist style of representation if this drawing of a seabass...

A Cubist Seabass (Y.B)

Edward Agyenim used a process of free association to re-imagine the seabass  in a more surreal way, with visible insides, a crown and fire coming from its tail.

A Surreal Seabass (Edward Agyenim)

And Samuel Bantley used the pattern on the skin  of the seabass and the segmented forms of the fish to create a part-human part-fish creature.

A Graphic Novel Seabass (Samuel Bentley)

Many thanks to the students who agreed to their work being shared on this blog (and apologies if i have mis-spelt your name, or shown your work the wrong way round).

These drawings show different ways of putting your own interpretation onto an image. You could also think of them as illustrations for a recipe:

Cubist Seabass-  maybe fish cut into sharp shapes, and arranged in a patterned way- like sushi?
Surrealist Seabass- maybe fish adorned with veg cut into shapes of crown and fire?
Graphic Novel Seabass- perhaps the fish is outlined in black- served on coal?

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Interesting Websites

Here are some links to food sculptures...enjoy!

Sausage Comedy

Why do artist's use food?

As well as possessing some interesting visual and sculptural qualities, certain food items convey a particular mood or feeling.

Let us briefly consider the humble sausage:

This is a picture of Swiss artists Fischli and Weiss, 'Wurst series'. They made a series of photos in which frankfurter sausages are arranged as characters in scenes.

In this photo called, 'In the carpet-shop,' we are led to think that the upright sausages represent 'buyers' and the flat meats represent 'carpets'. This is interesting because the meat stands for both human and non-human at the same time, we could think of it as representing something and at the same moment undermining the logic of that representation.

I think it is fair to say that for Fischli and Weiss there was something inherently comic about using sausages. Maybe this is because it is quite a crude stand in for a human, and an object that is very easy for us to recognise. In this way the use of food here is a bit like the apple over the man's face in Magritte's painting, it is a willfull misuse or disruption of the ordinary.

Here is an example of an artwork by Dieter Roth. He frequently used foodstuffs, such as chocolate, cheese, yoghurt or meat in his artworks. Roth used food as a way to make his work confrontational- he would allow the foods to go off, to rot and to smell as part of the work.

This is an artist book he made called, 'Literaturwurst'. He researched the process of making a sausage, and then shredded the pages of an actual book and encased the pulp in sausage lining. It is a book as a sausage.
If you want to find out more his attitude to food look up the FLUXUS art movement.

Artists using food to make art

There are many artists who have explored food as an art medium, using the sensory qualities of food objects in the same way that they may use more conventional art materials.

In this sculpture by Anthony Gormley, 'Bread Bed,' 1981, the artist has used the texture of white bread, which is soft and easily compressed, to create an indentation of two figures.

Here is a very early example of an artist taking an interest in the sculptural qualities of food, 'Winter,' by Guiseppe Acrimboldo, painted in 1573. Acrimboldo made many portraits of this kind, arranging fruit and veg so that it formed human faces, which he then painted.

This is a sculpture called 'Liquorice Shoes,' by Andy Yoder, 2007. Like Anthony Gormley's bread bed and Acrimboldo's fruit faces the artist is using food to literally make something else. In this example it is harder to visually see that it is food, so the title is very important in helping us to identify what the artist has done. I wonder if you saw the work the work in the flesh, would it smell sweet?

In this work, 'The Chromatic Diet,' by Sophie Calle, 1997, the artist exploits the visual qualities of food, drawing out the way we react to colour. To make the work Calle designed a monochrome meal for each day of the week. Thursday was green.

Think about how restricting the colour within a meal changes it from something ordinary, to something that is visually striking. Perhaps it is possible to create a radical, visally stunning meal by restricting one of the other qualities of the food, e.g. the texture, or shape- Breakfast of circles, lunch of squares and dinner of triangles?

Here is another example where colour is really significant. These are 'Political Jellies', made by jelly specialists Bompas and Parr for the last election of government. They are coloured to match the colours of the three major political parties, and have each parties' symbol drawn into their top. I think the shape of these is no accident either- the castle-type mould suggests power and seriousness.
Have a look at their website,, they have really tested the sculptural possibilities of jelly.

Welcome to BSIX students

This blog is intended as a resource for you to use in the creation of the 'Dinner with Picasso' recipe-book. I will upload images relating to food as art and art as food, which may help in your own reseach.

There are many different ways that artists may use food within their practice. To begin to explore this lets look at some famous apples...

The above painting by Cezanne shows one of the most simple and traditional ways in which an artist may use food- as the subject of pictoral representation for a still-life. 

In 'The Son of Man,' by Rene Magritte, the apple moves the painting into the realm of the Surreal. The apple is an element that is out of it's natural place, setting the tone of the painting.

And finally, here is an apple that represents the way we have been exploring food and art in the BSIX workshops- it is seeing an apple as art, making the apple into art.