Still Life: “Smaklöst” by Fideli Sundqvist

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With a dash of humor and a pinch of gumption, Swedish artist Fideli Sundqvist serves up food that is smaklöst, or in English, tasteless. As part of her “Paper Cut” series, “Still Life” mocks the seriousness associated with still lives, their delicately arranged bowls of fruit, and stately assortment of glassware. Sundqvist’s foods are tasteless in the gustatory sense, but the title of her work can also be interpreted as a comment on the blandness of an archetypal still life. To support the claim that her paper-cut art trumps the conventional, she presents a realistic fish with a twist of lemon – all paper, of course – atop a rustic wooden table for her still life photograph. Small cuts into the shale-blue paper simulate the scales of the fish, and a section-cut reveals the white sinews running through the fish’s pink flesh. In another scene, an artichoke heart stands next to a clove of garlic, its paper-thin (no pun intended) skin crinkled and peeled. The attention to detail and varied textures of paper create additional depth to Sundqvist’s magic trick. In each of the still lives, little insects such as dragonflies and ladybugs populate the scene and prove the veracity of the visual illusion, as if the critters preferred Sundqvist’s food over the real thing. Sundqvist’s previous culinary venture is captured in “Plaza,” a meal of three courses, though that particular work conveyed a greater sense of fun instead of irony. Hungry yet?

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Kimberly

Kimberly is a graduate from MIT's Department of Architecture, and has recently joined the publication team at MIT OpenCourseWare. While architecture remains her first love, her interests encompass literature – epic poetry and Medieval romances are her favorite – and also fashion.

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