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Café im Petuelpark, Barlachstraße Ecke Klopstockstraße, 80804 München

Teil des Kunstprojekts Petuelpark. Glasvitrine mit Kuchenattrappen, 100 x 145 x 100 cm

Photos: Wilfried Petzi

Text: Florian Matzner

“Strawberry cake, chocolate cake, with or without whipped cream—whichever way you like!” . . . Next to the restaurant’s entrance there is a display case in the window, invitingly presenting sweets of one kind or another to those visiting the pavilion in Petuelpark, attempting to seduce them into taking a little culinary break. Yet, upon approaching, viewers are taken aback when they realize that something is not right. Although the cakes and tarts seem to be made of real, edible ingredients, such as marzipan, chocolate, et cetera, they are strangely distorted, as if they had been left in the sun for too long and “lost their shape.” Seen close up, the initial, superficial impression of powerfully seductive sweets is contrasted with the strangely repulsive effect of the disfigured food.

The project by the Munich artist Alexandra Ranner plays with the boundaries between visuals and actual experience. Her almost casually presented intervention began with the photograph of a café or confectionary window. With the help of a professional at the Munich confectionary Rischart, the artist faithfully reproduced the display of tarts and cakes—along with the distorted perspective of the photograph—then cast a plastic mockup of it and colored it. The real café exhibits with expiration dates thus become whimsically distorted yet timeless art objects that pretend to be readymades but are actually presented like sculptures in a tiny museum. The artist has used perspectival changes in seemingly objective documentary photography as a motif in many other works, transferring the optical falsehood to concrete—meaning real—verifiable spaces. Once again, this time in the entrance to the café in Petuelpark, she attempts to send the viewer on a fruitless search for the point of intersection between the real and the virtual.