Why does a guilty pleasure have to leave you feeling guilty? Why can it just be a pleasure? As a food product, the cupcake positions itself as my “guilty pleasure.” I am both intrigued and repulsed by this miniature cake. Its perfect size and delicious taste are tempting, while the consequences of indulging hinder my ability to fully savor the dessert. Hidden in this dual nature of the cupcake lie many loaded, gender specific ingredients.
This body of work attempts to utilize the cupcake as a means of exploring gendered body image expectations fashioned by the mass media. Instead of paint, I use cupcake batter and frosting to glaze the surface of the gallery. The batter functions as paint, yet does not attempt to hide its identity as a food product. In exposing the duality of the cupcake, I hope to question the physical expectations of the human form. The viewer experiences, devours, and creates the pieces within the series, and in doing so, actively confronts the beauty stereotypes of current mass media.
Like Felix Gonzales Torres and Rirkrit Tiravanija, who also worked with food products, I allow the viewer to interact with the piece, and thus with the food on a unfamiliar level. In line with Tino Sehgal, my intent is not to create “art objects” per se but to create a systems esthetic or interactive experience for the viewer. Through the use of performative relational aesthetics, I hope to abandon the art object, in favor of the situational event and experience of the viewer.