Dawn Tan’s “Soft Friends”

Dawn Tan's Soft Friend

Dawn Tan's Soft Friend

Dawn Tan's Soft Friend

Move over Claes Oldenburg, Australian artist Dawn Tan is giving the soft sculpture medium a contemporary makeover. Artistically appropriating and enlarging the packaging for a number of mass-produced food products, Tan’s most recent work is concerned with “how packaged food is taking over natural, organic food. The idea of consumption becoming obsessive, how traditional made-from-scratch meals are now replaced often by instant colourful packaged food.”

The results of this creative interrogation is her “Soft Friends” and “Homebodies” series of works that playfully shift foodstuffs from the supermarket and kitchen pantry to the art gallery and everywhere in between. The larger-than-life sculptures are a clever comment on the pervasiveness of mass-produced goods, and by enlarging their form to such bizarre dimensions Tan defamiliarises their presence, thereby calling attention to the unnatural aesthetics of packaged food products. Intellectual process aside, it’s also a delightfully cute series. I bet Oldenburg wouldn’t have the sense of humour to walk around in a human-sized packet of Pascall Marshmallows.

Not content to transform food into larger – and sometimes mobile – pieces of art, Tan also illustrates recipes and giant food diaries. You can check out more of her work via her blog and her online shop.


April 11, 2011 / By