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THE MENU: Sweet Delights with Kristina Yenko

When I walked into Automata—the restaurant we were meeting at for the latest creative challenge in THE LAB series—little did I know that I’d be challenged to create an image based off the oral and tactile experience of eating.

Being spoon-fed in front of a camera crew and a room full of strangers was definitely not on my bucket list, but surprisingly it wasn’t as daunting as I imagined.

Coincidentally, I had a spoonful—blindfolded—of something that actually replicated my favourite sensation, my favourite texture and my favourite flavour. Gelato.

 The Lab Menu Behind the Image Kristina Yenko

After tasting, I had an instinctual urge to play with texture and create a sickly, sterile environment in the studio. 

I’m naturally into cold, creamy and sour as part of the indulgence experience—I blame it on my Ukrainian blood. When I think about frosted and icy products I imagine the colour blue. A hasty trip to the supermarket at 10pm, and a couple of hours of mixing and getting a bit dirty, led to an interesting experiment: pairing human skin with something super foreign and alien in texture and colour.

Voila! The goop was born.

I wanted to work with someone who was the epitome of female beauty. The way women are portrayed in the advertising and photographic industries is almost always sexual and subconsciously related back to pleasure and consumption.

Dessert is a sexual experience—it’s pleasurable.

It’s made purely for the experience of consuming. We’re attracted to things that are sweet and sugary and creamy. When you pair the two ideas together—sex and dessert—irony emerges.

I asked my friend Sophia to come and work with me on this project as she’s out-going, open-minded and is in the modelling industry. She knows how to move her body and contort herself.

The results were impressive. A whole series of work! The hardest part was choosing the final shot to use. I wanted the feeling of consumption and pleasure to come through in my final image but also a feeling of ice-cold uneasiness.

I chose the shot that had the most expression in the face and the sensual body parts concealed. The liquid is cascading over her curves and forming its own path to a pool beneath her body. Essentially, it’s melting over her like the sorbet melted in my mouth, coating my tongue in a sour tang.

The Lab Menu Behind the Image Kristina Yenko

Watch the latest episode of THE LAB here.