FA 34 - Ingrid Falk - Gustavo Aguerre
Galleria Milano
For the show "The Toaster and The Dinner"
Milan, Italy
October/November 1999
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 Lucia's bleeding bread, or when the artists encourage the public to walk on the bread in Reliquias, and even in the aggression that brought La Donna's demise
The Toaster, which was made for Galeria Milano, is another work where bread is used and its symbolism is questioned.
The Toaster is a large picture, seven metres long and four and a half metres high, totally made from bread toasted in 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 3.053 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.

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 3.053 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.

The Toaster - 7 m x 4,5 m - done out of 3.053 slices of toasted bread

Gallery view and detail of The Toaster

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 Dinner

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