It's unlikely that you associate fast food restaurants with any kind of deep and meaningful thought, but that could soon change once you've seen this beautiful wood replica created by Roxy Paine. Placed behind a glass window, the artist's diorama forces you to look a little bit harder at what seems to be just another fast food joint. When you do, it's clear that the scene is actually a combination of interconnected artifacts taken from various franchises, as well as completely different time periods.
Roxy’s diorama has a deep-fat fryer, a soft drink dispenser, and various other machines you would expect to find in a McDonalds. The trick is that each of them is actually taken from a different brand name establishment, and some things, like the coffee machine, don’t even belong to this era. “It’s intended to kind of play with your memory of what a fast food restaurant is, your perception of what one is,” says Emanuel Aguilar, a director at Kavi Gupta Gallery.
While you would expect this kind of work to have a hidden message about fast food and its many shortcomings, it’s actually an exercise in visual communication and our perception of the world around us. The most intelligent aspect of Roxy’s work is that by placing the piece behind a sheet of glass, he’s forcing you to look at something you would otherwise take for granted.
In a world where smartphones rule, and information is often accepted with very little investigation, the artist wanted to get people to acknowledge the things that are right there in front of them. “We very rarely go and experience something in person,” Aguilar says. “But there’s something very powerful about putting something behind glass, and encasing it and making this little world that can take you somewhere else.”