In Time Life magazine in 1942, a series of photographs by Alfred Eisenstaedt was published as a tutorial for women, teaching how to elegantly consume spaghetti “like a lady”. The step-by-step guide featured portraits of a coiffured model determinedly twirling the strands of pasta on her spoon and, eventually, eating it in a dignified fashion.
Now, Italian illustrator Olimpia Zagnoli has created How to Eat Spaghetti Like a Lady, a series of artworks paying homage to the original while subverting the old fashioned etiquette, in favour of depicting modern, liberated women eating spaghetti however they like.
The series features curvy, happy ladies full of energy and joy, holding their spaghetti up high, cradling it in their arms, or clutched like a purse, even sucking it Lady and the Tramp style from a bowl perched on their protruding hip.
Currently show at the Antonia Colombo Arte Contemporanea in Milan, and curated by Chiara Pozzi, the series includes some of Olimpia’s signature block colour, flat, vector illustration, and a collection of hand-drawn pieces that display the illustrator’s dynamic style in its raw, textural form. There’s also a neon sign in the shape of a women with spaghetti for hair.
“Olimpia, who favours the representation of soft, amused and colourful women, gives us a brilliant interpretation of the meaning ‘like a lady’," says Chiara, “thus drawing a series of portraits of girls who are tasting their plate of spaghetti in a completely singular and authentic way.”
Offering a glimpse at women’s “domestic intimacy” Olimpia says she’s celebrating the times when “they do what shouldn’t be done, they create new paths and new languages. There will be the woman who eats her spaghetti in bed, the one who eats them upside-down, the one who weaves them with her own hair, and so on”.
How to Eat Spaghetti Like a Lady is on show at Antonia Colombo Arte Contemporanea, Milan until 30 July 2017.