We approach bread as art, our medium of culinary creativity. But for some artists, bread transcends the material to become metaphor. Our aprons off to them; their conceptual creations offer new perspectives on pain.
Channeling the spindly grace of Giacometti, Spanish designer Enoc Armengol has fashioned furniture out of bread. His Panpaati dining set – a table flanked by two chairs – is at once functional and edible. He embraces the organic nature of his designs; ever changing with their environment, his forms are devoured by their surroundings – weather, people, animals. Inviting appetites, he considers his breadstick structures ephemeral reflections of society. “Nevertheless, these pieces can also be eaten, becoming part of the living process.”
Poland-born artist and Oakland transplant Milena Korolczuk works in a myriad of mediums, from photography to film and now, Wonder Bread. She considers the notion of the artist as absurd, a paradox of passion and futility. Her latest series, begun as a musing over breakfast, stars iconic figures from history, philosophy, art, literature and pop culture, their faces sculpted from wads of white bread. She then takes still-life photographs of the busts, perched amid the detritus of her creative process, nearly lost in scenes of bread crusts and table clutter. Through her lens, the act of art-making offers more meaning than the final work.
For Lennie Payne, a self-taught “master of Toast Art” from Great Britain, bread references humanity and spirituality. “Toast, a metaphor for the basic human need to eat and survive, also exists as a canvas on which to explore the spirituality that influences and affects our everyday lives,” he writes on his website. Welding a blow torch on bread slices, Payne chars imagery over multiple panes of toast. Whether making a celebrity portrait or a domestic scene, his toast works comment on the fundamental humanity underpinning personal and cultural obsessions. His self-portrait embodies the psychological weight the artist attaches to toast as physical and spiritual sustenance.