Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sharon Baker

Baking is her artistic medium. The foot (1st image) and hand (2nd image) above are not fragments of ancient sculpture. They are bread!* Sharon Baker of Surrey, U.K., belongs to the Experimental Food Society, whose members are "joined by their love of food and their desire to push it to new levels, often fusing it with other forms such as science and art." The result is much more than just pretty edibles. Baker explains, "I don’t want to make art out of things that will last for ever. I prefer materials which, like human beings, have their life and then degenerate and die." She uses the living nature of yeast to explore the connection between people and their world, and whether this connection is dominated by our mind or our senses. "Where do the boundaries between our body and its environment actually lie?" she asks, and actively invites others to ponder the question. Baker's bread art takes shape during public performance and audience participation. At a 2006 festival, she lay next to a replica of her body cast in bread (4th image) and answered questions posed by the audience, after which the sculpture was cut up and shared. “People chopped me up with axes and slashed into me with swords. The kids thought it was a riot, of course, but I was also aware that the whole process used the same metaphor that Christianity uses in Holy Communion – 'Take, eat; this is my body.’ ” At a 2007 performance, she cast the hands of visitors (3rd image), baked them on site, and installed the accumulating bread hands is if they were growing out of a carpet of grass. At the end of the day, everyone ate his or her own hand in a mass ceremony. At an event in 2009, Baker reinterpreted the cake competiton at the traditional village fair by asking the members of a women's group to submit bread casts of their breasts to be judged in a competition. After voting for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place, the audience members were invited to sample the nippled entries. At the Experimental Food Society’s banquet on Friday, Baker will be serving up hundreds of rolls cast from the hand of British survivalist, author, and TV presenter Ray Mears. When she's done with dough, the artist still plans to work in food. "...if I get bored with bread, I’m going to move on to jelly, icing sugar, and toffee.”

*Thank you, Chase, for thinking of me when you saw this!

1 comment:

  1. Wow. I can't believe that is bread- the way she handles it as a medium is incredible. That foot in particular has such a solidness! Thanks for the link.


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