For her latest work, performance artist Marina Abramović addresses literal consumption: Ladurée is now selling macarons designed to taste like the Yugoslavian artist.
For Marina Abramović’s Taste, Ladurée collaborated with Kreëmart — an NYC-based design studio that employs sugar as its chief medium — to create a set of three macarons. The cookies, the Paris Review writes, are made from an almond meringue base just like all of Ladurée’s macarons, and then dyed Prussian blue, painted with edible gold leaf, and stamped with the Abramović family’s coat of arms. Each box of three cookies costs 85 Euro, or about $100 USD.
Like translating a memory into a flavor, Abvrovic told the AFP that the cookies taste like spending time with her grandmother in the “early morning, making coffee.”
“Then I remember the smells of fresh basil, thyme, cardamom seeds,” she said, “and exotic smells from the trips I took later on and remember exploring volcanoes and waterfalls and remember this feeling in the early morning when I see the line of the sea just meet the ocean, and ocean meet the sky.”
“The flavor is so unique that it can’t be adulterated with any preexisting notion of the taste,” the Paris Review writes, cryptically. Artnet notes that the color of the macarons leaves a “guilty blue stain” on the tongue.
Abramović’s work is known for its penetrating symbolism. The act of eating a representation of an artist, critics point out, is either sexual or religious — or both — depending on the art patron’s point of view.
Taste is the first in what Ladurée and Raphaël Castoriano, founder and creative director of Krëemart, hope will become a series called Pastry Portrait. To create the trio of macarons Castoriano presented Abramović with a long questionnaire which he used to translate emotion and expression into flavor.
“When I said I wanted to have my own taste, they asked me so many questions...” Abramović told the AFP, “what I like, the colors, the smells, the landscapes in nature, the memories of childhood... all of this went into the Pastry Portrait of me.”
Best known for work that explores the tension between artist and audience such as 2010’s The Artist Is Present, Abramović has used food to evoke emotion before. For Spirit Cooking (1996) she worked with printmaker Jacob Samuel to create a cookbook of "aphrodisiac recipes that serve as evocative instructions for actions or thoughts,” according to the MOMA. To create the pieces, Abramović used her fingernails and saliva combined with nitric acid to paint on each of four prints.
Marina Abramović’s Taste is on sale now at Harrod’s in London; 250 boxes were put on display today at Ladurée Paris (rue de Castiglione), and at the FIAC International Art Fair, which runs through October 22. Taste will soon be on offer at Ladurée cafes in New York City, Los Angeles, Tokyo, and Milan.