Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Antoni, Janine. Gnaw. 1992. 600 lbs. of chocolate before biting.

600 lbs of lard before biting.

Image from Art:21. PBS.

In Gnaw, the performance/process artist and sculptor Janine Antoni chewed away at two massive cubes, one of lard and one of chocolate. As she stated in Eating Architecture by Jamie Horwitz, she chose these materials because "while they are both high in fat they elicit contrary responses: chocolate usually elicits oral pleasure...whereas lard often evokes oral revulsion. Antoni played with ideas of seduction and repulsion." She is also using her body not only to mold the huge cubes, but in place of the traditional, masculine tools of art-making. In Gnaw, her teeth become the sculptor's chisel.

Detail of chocolate cube.

Image from Art:21 PBS

Antoni chewed on these huge cubes, a reference to Donald Judd and the minimalist cube, over the course of a few weeks. During her gnawing, she spit out the mouthfuls and collected these shavings and chunks. She then melted down the remains, the chocolate into an imitation of the plastic trays that house chocolates, and the lard into tubes of red lipstick. Her arrangements of these objects mock displays behind cosmetic counters. This second element of the piece comments on feminine identity, consumer culture, and the irony of the societal views of the materials in their various forms. "What was once inside now holds items meant to be ingested, and what once evoked oral revulsion is now worn as an outer adornment on the very orifice from whence it came." (Horwitz. 145.)

Art about Food (Part 2-Janine Antoni)

Antoni, Janine. Gnaw. Display with 130 lipsticks made with pigment, beeswax,

and chewed lard removed from the lard cube; 27 heart-shaped packages made from the chewed chocolate

removed from the chocolate cube. Overall dimensions variable.

Image and information from MOMA. found on Rabbit food blog

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