In her series “Contemporary Pieces”, photographer and nomad artist Rebecca Rütten projects fast food (from brands like Taco Bell, McDonald’s and KFC) in the manner of classic paintings. In our time, social media profiles are flooded with pictures of day to day breakfasts and lunches and dinners but Rebecca wants to aestheticise the meals further to shed light on contemporary issues of class and financial status.
“I became enamored with the eroticism, presentation and charisma of paintings from the Renaissance Period,” Rebecca explains. “In the Late Renaissance, Italian and Dutch painters dealt with the middle and lower classes. In my opinion, Fast Food Culture represents these two social classes in the United States today. To eat healthy is expensive. However, one can buy large amounts of food at a fast food restaurant for a comparatively low price. I studied books on the Renaissance from the University Library. By using laborers, gypsies and prostitutes for models, the portraits of Caravaggio create a different feeling.”
Rebecca asked her friends to model for her. “I like the fact that my friends in these photographs have tattoos and piercings,” she continues. “It underlines the concept that they are ‘Children of the Modern Age,’ having been brought up in the changing America, often defined by the culture of Fast Food. It was significant that many of my friends try to avoid Fast Food. In their eyes, Fast Food in the United States is comprised of genetically modified items that are designed only for mass consumption. To them, the food becomes a non-edible object and loses its value as being considered Food.”
Contemporary Pieces is made up of 5 Portraits and 5 Still Life photographs. Like the works of the Old Masters, these shots explore transience and beauty. But overall they remain open to interpretation.
Rebecca was born in 1991 in Cologne. She studied Communication Design with a focus on Photography and Film in Germany and the United States. Her current personal work mostly deals with identity and is a mixture of portrait, journalism and concept art. Her projects have been featured by outlets such as GUP, Vice and CNN. “For me”, she asserts, “photography and filming are powerful weapons against the madness of our society”.
Images used with permission.