INTRODUCTION: "Art and Cook" is a comprehensive volume produced, conceptualized and designed by Allan Ben Studio that blends together Surrealism and Dadaism to create original works of art with universal appeal. The publication also draws from Pop and Commercial Art in its quest to explore bold directions, unconventional ideas and a fresh, new perspective.
The Dada Movement, introduced at the end of the First World War, in opposition to the war, created art that reflected the ugliness of conflict the anti-art. Other forms of art in the 20th century were impacted by the Dada Movement, among them Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism, Conceptual Art and Pop Art.
While Dadaism is devoid of guidelines and structure (as is the case with the title, used in a manner that is grammatically incorrect to summon forth feelings of shock and consternation), Surrealism draws heavily on theories adapted from Sigmund Freud: It fuses together "conscious and conscious realms of experience so completely, joining the everyday rational world in an absolute reality, a surreality."
The creative expressions within the confines of this book (that provide a delicate balance between food and art), like Surrealism and Dadaism, are indicative of a desire to draw from reality, fantasy and personal emotions to create images real or imagined all intended to stimulate the senses and nourish the mind.
The recipes in this volume are influenced by food from around the Mediterranean and Asia, Continental American Cuisine and Classic French Cuisine. Food, like art, is a representation of beauty and, when expertly presented, a masterpiece in its own right.
The multifaceted, universal nature of the recipes is manifested in the titles, one such being "Grilled Chicken Skewers over Grilled Zucchini in Curry Vinaigrette and Crispy Noodles." What one gets from one taste, one look, is universality: a blending together of different flavors and spices, in very much the same way an artist mixes colors in search of depth, meaning and tones to convey meaning and evoke a particular response.
Unparalleled creativity is the hallmark of "Art and Cook," as the art and recipes in this volume exemplify: an exploration into uncharted territory in pursuance of the extraordinary.
The artwork "Mona Lisa with Moustache," is given a new spin by the artist, who, in a paradoxical twist, replaces the moustache with two red peppers the color red connoting emotion, in this case, anger.
From the Book "Man Ray Masters of Photography Series" by Jed Perl, a photo revealing the close-up of a woman in tears is reassembled. Droplets of water are substituted with green lentils in a gesture of symbolism (rounded lentils, a metaphor for salty teardrops).
Above all, the images in "Art and Cook," some haunting in their intensity, raise ones level of consciousness about social, political and moral issues such as world conflict, environmental concerns, animal cruelty and medical and technological advances. The visuals tell a story and, oftentimes, court controversy (see art references).
The book is for those who appreciate all that life has to offer. Its an invitation for the reader to reflect, learn, think, laugh and view the world through different lenses.