Friday, 25 February 2011

Bite 68: James Rosenquist - I Love You With My Ford, 1961

I Love You With My Ford, 1961, oil on canvas, 210 x 238 cm
“When I copied a 1940s spaghetti illustration, I had to ask myself, why am I doing this? I didn’t honestly know. It was just an instinct about images as pure form… in a sense the spaghetti is like an abstract expressionist painting. De Kooning loved it. He said it was sexy.”
                                                                                   - James Rosenquist

Originally an advertising billboard painter, Rosenquist applied his style and skill to create equally monumental anti-advertising images, combining images and icons to dissect mass-media and the mechanisations of advertising imagery.

The grill of a Ford. A woman opening her mouth sensually. A close-up of spaghetti. What do these three disparate images have in common? 

All used to sell commodities they are 'zoomed in' on to remove their contexts, becoming abstract vignettes of consumer culture. Icons, of sorts, of the American Dream, absurdly combined, tinged with sexuality - auto-erotic, carnal, and gastronomic desires (all tapped into through advertising), with the spaghetti coming alive as snakes, in close-up vibrant colour.