Whether it’s cocaine, champagne and cigarettes or a macrobiotic vegan challenge for dinner, society is and always has been obsessed by diets of the major leaders and influencers of this world. Internationally recognised Italian photographer Dan Bannino embarks on this obsession with his photo project ‘Still Diets’ of which he began in 2014. Having been published in the likes of The Huffington Post, Vice, The Times, Elle and Cosmopolitan it should come as no surprise that his works are now featured at Public House of Art!
Documenting a rich and drool worthy series of images that capture some rather weird and wonderful eating habits, Bannino takes inspiration from Old Masters and Dutch artists of the Golden Age including Adrian van Utrecht, Peiter Claesz and Adriaen Coorte. Ancient meets new as the photographer transforms ordinary food items into eccentric and lavish compositions to symbolise personality, vanity and the reality of what several famous figures are stuffing into their mouths. From tv-celebrity Kim Kardashian longing to get back to her figure to North Korea’s Leader Kim Jong Un’s cheesy desires, prepare your stomachs for a hotplate of Baroque and Renaissance decadence seasoned with modernity. Sounds tasty to us.
Donald J Trump: The Fast Food Fiend
If you are what you eat, then Donald Trump is a heart attack in the making. Just like his political decisions, his food choices appear to be extremely heavy and indigestible. During his campaign Trump ate McDonalds more than any other restaurant, besides Trump Grill of course. With barely any vegetables in sight, Bannino has based this composition on works he saw by Dutch masters Abraham Hendricksz Van-Beyeren, Adriean Coorte and Adam Bernaert at the Rijksmuseum. Everything in Dan’s images has been shot in real-life and each article on his set has been thoroughly researched via weeks of exploration into his celebrity subject. One thing we can salute you for however Mr Trump is your dedication to the utilisation of a knife and fork. Thanks for reminding us that manners matter.
Kim Kardashian: Absolutely Atkins
She broke the internet with her champagne popping derrière but do not think for a minute that Kim Kardashian is knocking back flutes of bubbles every day. Far from that, as after putting on an unacceptable amount of weight whilst pregnant per the media (no shit Sherlock she’s carrying another person), Kim Kardashian went on to drop a remarkable 55 pounds thanks to the Atkins diet. High protein elements such as chicken and eggs are put beautifully amongst colourful vegetables and fruits in Bannino’s painterly photographic style. The rich and vivid colour palette of this image plays a key role in the composition. Gold and luxurious objects placed on elegant table cloths illuminate the lavish feeling of the artwork and it’s inspiration. As Bannino says ‘Everyone wants to know the secrets behind a celebrity and small details are the greatest’ which could not be more true in the case of Kim Kardashian. Her highly publicised life and famous husband, who refers to himself as Yeezus, are subtly marked by a votive candle where he is portrayed as God whilst Kim has been placed in front as a crying Mary. Inspired by the Baroque and Rococo movements, the lavish and decorative lives of that era live strongly on today in the life of the fabulous Kim Kardashian.
Steve Jobs: The Flirty Fruitarian
Tech tycoon and one hell of a controversial genius, Steve Jobs had some seriously quirky eating habits throughout his lifetime. The extremely restrictive diet of fruit and vegetables even made him believe that his body could not produce any bodily odours therefore taking a regular shower wasn’t necessary. Bet his co-workers were not best pleased. Bannino balances Job’s love for fruit and vegetables on top of carpets inspired by the Italian painter Francesco Fieravino. He also incorporates a butterfly, the religious symbol for the soul, to portray that the soul of Steve jobs will forever be in Apple product. The clarity and sharpness of the photographic image emphasises the CEO’s great attention to detail of design. Fun but perhaps not so fun fact: When Ashton Kutcher tried to emulate the diet of the late Apple CEO in his biopic he ended up in hospital. Please do not try this at home.
Andy Warhol: Half Full Diet
Perhaps one of the most curious diets of the bunch, no one can deny Andy Warhol’s keen interest in food. A simple man some may say as fruit, jam sandwiches and a chocolate bar between two slices of white bread were apparently what fuelled this legendary artist. Based on Adriaen van Utrecht’s painting ‘Banquet Still Life’, Bannino displays bright bananas, juicy tomatoes and Campbells soup tins amongst mirrors and statues symbolising Warhol’s fascination with finding the aesthetic beauty in ordinary objects. Want to know how not to pile on the pounds this Christmas? Warhol has your back. ‘When I order in a restaurant, I order everything that I don’t want, so I have a lot to play around with while everyone else eats. Then, no matter how chic the restaurant is, I insist that the waiter wrap the entire plate up like a to-go order, and after we leave the restaurant I find a little corner outside in the street to leave the plate in, because there are so many people in New York who live in the streets, with everything they own in shopping bags.’ An artistic legend and a do-gooder, what’s not to like!
Kim Jong-Un: The Cheese and Champagne Connoisseur
Our last dish of the day comes from the notorious North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un. There is not much to say except that this man loves cheese. Like he really, really loves cheese. His taste evolved when he was a student in Europe. However, Bannino conveys more than just a creamy camembert in this image, death can be easily found in the plethora of spoiled food and dried flowers on the frame. Interplays of life and death and good and evil are placed closely together using candles and skulls. The grounding inspiration comes from Floris Claesz van Dijck’s ‘Still Life with Cheese’ which was painted in 1615. So, there you have it, when Kim Jong Un is not setting off missiles, he spends most of his down time eating cheese.
Written by Paris-based Freelance Writer, Joanna Reid for The Public House of Art.