*Desserts as Sculpture: A Casestudy in the Meaningfulness of Containment and Display Methods for Small Objects and Modular Forms


Over the past several months I have become sooo inspired by desserts! As a result I have re-familiarized myself with the old european standbys (battenburgs, macaroons, decadent cookies, etc.) and in the process I have also officially become aquainted with the strange world of Japanese and middle eastern desserts among other treasures. By nature desserts are small objects, but even in spite of their smallness these intricate masterpieces pack a strangely impactful punch in terms of their innate ability to leave an immediate and lasting impact upon the human imagination — at once diagnosing every last one of us with some stripe of synesthesia accompanied by an insatiable lust for the unmistakable  combination of flour, sugar, and fat as they become arranged in countless delectable configurations and forms.

But their edible nature aside — how do we become seduced by desserts as mere objects?

While it seems rather obvious that much of the aesthetic appeal of desserts has to do with their frequently complex repetitious patterns and decorative motifs on a diminutive scale combined with their dynamic textural variance I think there is also something to be said about how the packaging of said objects affects their visual charge. I find it fascinating that the means by which a thing is contained can become such a direct generator for narrative backstory. Invariably, it seems, the bonbon, truffle, baklava, or marzipan figurine finds itself shrouded in an air of especially regal uprightness and dignity when individually wrapped and carefully compartmentalized under glass cabinetry or encased within a box wherein each counterpart can be found neatly nestled in it’s very own special dwelling place.

If indeed these were live specimens I think it would not be inaccurate to say that the general sentiments of say, an eclair, would be akin to that of Catherine I on her way to some unspeakably glamorous affair in a gratuitously gilded horse drawn carriage embellised at every angle with filigree and tufted velvet.  (Traditional pâtisserie shops are, afterall, perhaps one of the only palpable remnants of the overthetop decadence we generally associate with 18th century Europe and Russia). This all to say that there is something inherently betwitching about decadent desserts that is (I think) altogether due to the fact that they are generally contained in an utterly rigorous and thoughtful capacity that perhaps belies the fleeting lifespan of a given confection during the momentary act inwhich it is gleefully consumed.

In my new body of work I am very excited to explore the myriad of methods by which small objects or series of modular objects may be contained and arranged and even packaged and how these varying approaches to containment suggest a range of divergent narratives from preciousness to preservation out of sheer obligation. In anycase, the stringent regard for the aesthetic consistancy which precedes the formation and  distribution of the most esteemed desserts of any culture seems to me an undeniably remarkable and fascinating thing.


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