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From Jonas Nyffenegger and Sébastien Mathys, the Swiss founders of @uglydesign, the remarkably popular Instagram account that has been documenting the weird and unequivocally ugly in the world of design for the last six years, comes @totallygourmet. Expanding on their broader attraction to objects and forms that bend the conventional rules of taste, here the duo explore the expansive, and specifically bizarre, realm of food and drink.

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Internet flavour

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Italian poet, editor, art theorist, and co-founder of the Futurist movement, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti was a forerunner in considering the preparation and consumption of food as art. Conceived by Marinetti and his peers in Milan in 1909, Futurism embraced all aspects of the industrial age, from cars and planes to manufacturing systems and urban planning. They placed cooking and dining, a part of daily life, at the centre of their visionary ideals. Cementing this outlook, in 1932, Marinetti published The Futurist Cookbook, intended as a manifesto for the movement.

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Meat fruits

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Later, during the age of pop art, food became a social metaphor. Andy Warhol painted familiar consumer items such as Coca Cola bottles and soup cans throughout the 1960s, the earliest examples of which were first shown in New York in 1962. Elsewhere, Wayne Thiebaud rendered cakes and other treats in striking colour reminiscent of advertising campaigns. Depicted as commercial displays, rather than fixtures of domestic life, his compositions echoed an American society in which extravagant desserts connoted wealth. At around the same time, artists began using real food as an art material.

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Chillin

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In 1970, the satirical Swiss-German artist Dieter Roth presented a work entitled Staple Cheese (A Race), comprising some 30 suitcases laden with cheese, and other cheeses pressed onto the gallery’s walls with the intention that they would drip, or “race,” toward the ground. Shortly after the show’s opening in Los Angeles, the exhibition began to exude an intolerable smell, and the gallery soon became infested with maggots and flies, causing threats from public inspectors to close it down. At this point, the artist boldly stated that the insects were in fact his intended audience all along.

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Noodle restoration 🍜

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Archiving the oddest corners of the culinary world, in its own tongue-in-cheek fashion, @totallygourmet expands on sardonic traditions of artists like Roth and others, with everything from outsider art sausage sculptures, and potato chip jewellery to instant noodle life hack videos, and a human-shaped radish. Simultaneously hilarious, fascinating and grotesque, Nyffenegger and Mathys’ collection of images and videos proposes a subversive and amusing take on social media’s fixation with food porn, while continuing to smudge the boundaries between food and art.   



Words by Keshav Anand | Feature image via @totallygourmet

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