Sale 19574
Vice
Online 12 - 27 May

"The goal for every human being, including myself, is to live an examined life—to really think about what makes us who we are in the world and how culture constructs and contains us. That’s what I’m interested in." - Barbara Kruger

Arresting in scale and composition, Barbara Kruger’s Untitled (Your taste is in your mouth), from 1995, exemplifies the striking disjuncture between image and message that she began honing decades prior. In her bold, graphic, cut-and-paste style that she developed during her early career as a picture editor at Condé Nast, Kruger superimposes Futura Bold text across a knife that slices a succulent piece of ham, ready to land onto a plump bed of swiss cheese and rye bread. As an advertisement, the staged yet dynamic scene of the classic sandwich succeeds in honoring the beloved combination of salt and fat, even promoting it as if it were a devotional shrine in the American kitchen, offering the viewer a proverbial slice of heaven. As a symbol, the delicacy represents American ideals that connote strength, wealth and comfort. The advertisement’s ability to exploit the idealization of domesticity and prosperity is exactly why Kruger has chosen it for her source image. She admits, “The goal for every human being, including myself, is to live an examined life—to really think about what makes us who we are in the world and how culture constructs and contains us. That’s what I’m interested in (B. Kruger, quoted in I. Forster, ‘Resisting Reductivism & Breaking the Bubble: An Interview with Barbara Kruger’, Art21, 2018). By overlaying the expression, “Your taste is in your mouth,” over this ubiquitous symbol, Kruger shrewdly warns against the manipulative power of advertising and critiques the inherent greed within consumerism and commerce, while all the while, creating a tantalizing and seductive composition.

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