In his piece, Spaghetti and Meatballs, performance artist Antonius Wiriadjaja stands against a grey background and dons a colander on his head. Two meatballs hover across his eyes, a mess of spaghetti tethered to his face, clamped on through a collection of chopsticks, rubber bands, and paperclips. Beneath the mask of food Wiriadjaja’s face remains blank. This is not about him. He is the model but even less so, Wiriadjaja simply exists in the photograph as a body — a scaffold for his edible sculpture.
Spaghetti and Meatballs is one of many pieces in Wiriadjaja’s Foodmasku NFT project, an ever-growing collection of images that follow the same pattern — food crafted into a mask, worn by the rigid Wiriadjaja, and photographed. Often, the masks will disguise Wiriadjaja’s face entirely, as in Cotton Candy, the mask floats above his shoulders. Other times, like in Southern Cornbread, his eyes are visible, the food barely a mask at all. In Eggplant with Garlic Sauce, Wiriadjaja builds a mask out of the seemingly impossible to mask entree, and that is the joy of Foodmasku.
In his 100 Days Mask Challenge, Wiriadjaja physically assembled and wore each mask, each photo taken against a similar background with a shirt corresponding to the menu upon his face. In Delectables, Wiriadjaja bypasses the chance for human error. Each image is generated from individually photographed food items placed upon Wiriadjaja’s static face, his torso replicated across 2,000 randomly generated NFTs.
Wiriadjaja’s Foodmasku series is inherent comedy yet Wiriadjaja’s empty gaze and three-quarter turn give the aura of Stoicism. The masks he wears are of the foods he eats — these items are his culture, his everyday sustenance. There is patience and care rendered in each mask, Wiriadjaja giving himself over completely to the process.