All images courtesy of Whitespace Gallery, Bangkok
This sculpture studio isn’t your average workspace: Looking at Ratchaburi, Thailand-based artist Kittiwat Un-ar-rom's work, you’d think the flesh came from either a forensics lab or a prop store. But these severed limbs, haggard faces, and fleshy lumps are actually made entirely out of dough. In his Body Bakery works, every single bun is edible—for years, the artist has kneaded and mixed his way through hundreds of flesh-like rolls that would put even the hungriest off of their lunch. He displays them as if they were in a butchery, the starchy designs all wrapped up in cling film and suspended from metal meat hooks.
Each baked body part is made with meticulous detail; each feature constructed out of raisins, nuts and other edible toppings. After they are sculpted and baked, a bloodlike glaze is swept over each loaf, making for a creepy, stained lump of stodge. To add to their realistic effect, each head hasn’t got any hair, resulting in the macabre illusion that they've been decomposing for some time, not fresh from the oven as they actually are.
Engaging with a long line of sculptors who eschew ordinary mediums, Unarrom first started working in 2003, winning gold prize for a piece in a competition at Bangkok’s Silpakorn. Two years since that competition, he’d crafted more than 200 unnerving faces out of his carb-y medium, and these days he's represented in Bangkok by Whitespace Gallery. His work questions material use; why choose an expensive medium, when equally impressive results can be made from mere dough? In observing these baked bodies, Unarrom asks us to be critical with our own judgements; to question if what we see is actually what we think.
It also reminds us of the link between humanity and the simple bread loaf. Historically, bread has had an inextricable tie to civilizations and cultures, from religious offerings to political revolutions. Thus, with its subversion via ‘dead bread faces,’ Body Bakery bears the visage of many simple truths.
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