"By emulating divine presence, Akselbo's work whimsically addresses the aura that surrounds the original da Vinci painting through the decidedly un-miraculous process of repeatedly grilling the Mona Lisa on toast. According to Walter Benjamin, the aura of the work of art emerges out of ritual associated with religious cult, and is attached to the physical presence of a unique object. While Benjamin believed that mechanical reproduction - in other words, photography and film - would diminish the aura of the work of art, it appears as though an increased dissemination of copies might strengthen the originals mystery and appeal. This seems to be true of the Mona Lisa. Millions of visitors flock to see da Vinci's painting at the Louvre every year, often dismissing lesser-known works of equal importance.

Through his piece, Akselbo playfully acknowledges this unexpected contemporary cult, using a serial process of reproduction to suggest the Mona Lisas miraculous appearance on toast, in a similar way, perhaps, as Leonardo da Vinci might have used an early form of photography to simulate a divine manifestation in his own likeness. indebted to the legacy of Pop Art and DuchampĀ“s ready mades."

Excerpt from catalogue text Flexible Aura show in Korea.
text by -Stephanie Bertrand

The Mona Lisa Toaster 2007The Mona Lisa Toaster 2007 toaster with aluminum stencils