Artist John Baldessari regards images with suspicion. He appropriates them because he can’t help seeing a pseudo-reality or constructing his own. This is the kind of series dreamed up one evening over a beer and a bag of chips. Potato chips come in all sorts of rounded, undulating and irregular shapes that offer obvious comparisons to human features. 

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Baldessari spots hidden faces, closed eyes and prominent cheekbones and presents a gallery of celebrity portraits that can only be picked out by scrutinizing the golden hues and greasy sheen of one potato chip after another. Back to that beer: such a well-judged leap of the imagination from the humble spud elicits admiration as well as wry grins all round. This is art at its most fascinating: poetry emerges from the subtlest twists. Baldessari’s chips –which the cover proclaims as “guaranteed fresh”– are served with a side of humor.




Miracle Chips, John Baldessari, 2009, 96 p. Published by Little Steidl, Gottingen.
Kenzo, 27, place de la Madeleine, Paris.