The Salzburg Food series features a group of double images, most of which have the ingredients on left and the final meal on the right.
The images are taken from a 1960s restaurant brochure that I found in a flea market in Vienna. I was initially attracted to the similarity of certain images to my own photographic work, with their bright and flat colour backgrounds (the images of coffee for example). As I flicked through the brochure I became intrigued by the before and after aspect, and the curious similarity between the process of cooking and that of painting. Some of the ingredients, with their pots of spices and herbs reminded me of painting pigments...both activities a form of alchemy.
A key consideration in my work is transformation; this derives from my discovery of the 'magical' transformation inherent in printmaking and photography, when I was becoming frustrated with painting as a student at college. In a way, the Salzburg series is a personal elegy to painting; a melancholy reflection on a medium which continues to inform my photographic and video work.
This melancholy also extends to the promise inherent in the images themselves. The exotic (if kitsch) meals evoke a cosmopolitanism missing in my home country of Scotland in my childhood. The genre of still life has always been a chronicle of the commodity and trade, well, at least since the 'pronkstilleven' or banquet pictures of the Dutch golden age, paintings of the spoils of empire essentially, up to and beyond Warhol's celebration of the everyday in his Campbell's soup can paintings. The ease of global travel and the plethora of imported (and mass-produced) goods has removed the exoticism or otherness of most things, but these images retain (for me) a sense of longing for new possibilities.
The original formatting of the brochure had the ingredients image small and the final presentation full page. Removing this hierarchy is intended as an allegory of modernism - the simple formal arrangement as opposed to the overly adorned - whilst enjoying the baroque pretentions of the (inedible?) final concoction. However, the dynamism of the diagonal composition of the right pictures as opposed to the typological banality of the left, could be read as a bookending of late and early modernism - Conceptualism (left)/Futurism (right).
I considered restaging the images, but the pictures themselves captured the (my) nostalgia in a manner that restaging could not; my input is, hopefully, to recuperate and draw out their latent elegiac character.