Sculptural designs so sweet you can eat them
Posted August 4, 2017 5:44 a.m. EDT
Like many recent art school graduates, Maayan Zilberman struggled to find an affordable studio when she left the School of Visual Arts in New York. So she turned her kitchen into a makeshift studio space.
Influenced by her surroundings, Ziberman turned to sugar and sugar-like alternatives as materials.
Her latest series, a group of iridescent, crystalline towers made of sugar, are now on display at Los Angeles' Furth Yashar & gallery.
"Is her work more or less interesting or relevant (because) it's made out of sugar? We feel it isn't. It's equally interesting and in some ways more interesting," Sean Yashar, one of the gallery's founders, said of Zilberman's work.
"The sugar is new, fresh and different. It's something different to glass, different to resin; it's a different material and it reacts differently when you look at it, and that alone was interesting to us."
CNN spoke with the artist-confectioner -- and, it's worth noting, lingerie designer -- about her work.
CNN: How did the art and candy worlds come together for you?
Maayan Zilberman: I have a background in fine art. I went to school for sculpture and made art all through my other two careers (candy-maker and lingerie designer) to this show. I think a lot of the techniques I learned in school and in my studio helped me learn how to make molds and candy, how to construct bras, etc.
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Talk us through the practicalities of working with edible materials. What are the pros and cons?
The biggest pro is that when you have food, people are interested. Working with materials that absorb humidity and get sticky is really challenging, but the trade off of telling people the objects are candy is really rewarding.
What do the sculptures taste like?
I work with a flavorist who develops all the flavors for me, based on feelings I want to evoke or mismatched pairings.
Why do we define certain things as art and others as functional items?
I think it's a matter of intention, and how we perceive objects in a hierarchy of things. I'm no expert, but I know how I differentiate these things in my own world.
In what ways do you think you are testing the boundaries of art and ephemera?
I'm asking people to invest in objects that are too big to put in your mouth, but made of the same materials you'd find at a candy shop.
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Oliver M. Furth and Sean Yashar, the founders of Furth Yashar &, have described their gallery as a space for beautiful objects that don't need to be categorized. Do you think this is the future of exhibitions?
It's something really nice about doing this show with them. They've never questioned whether or not my work is art. I don't question it, so it makes for a smooth working relationship.
Not every artist is going to feel comfortable being grouped with other categories, but going to back what I said before, it's a matter of intention. I made these pieces to exist in a gallery, while other work I've made is more of a party favor. I feel comfortable working both ways, and each brings me equal amounts of joy.
The photographs of the artworks will be the only permanent pieces left after the exhibition. What happens to the sculptures after the show?
It depends who purchases them, whether they decide to eat them or preserve them.
"Maayan Zilberman SUGE" is on at the Furth Yashar & gallery in Los Angeles until Aug.11, 2017.