“Victuals” is a series of photographic collages in which Samvel Saghatelian (Sam Saga.) explores the disparate cultural and mythological dimensions of food. To construct his compositions, Saghatelian utilizes photographic fragments from a multitude of sources straddling the 20th and 21st centuries: weathered family pictures, snapshots of modern urban life, vintage and contemporary erotic imagery. The artist then organizes these evocative scraps into thematic alimentary situations, placing the photos on actual foodstuffs or dirty dishes.

Saghatelian completes the process by shooting a given mise-en-scene into a final photograph. The finished photograph is not digitally enhanced. Beyond its essential and primary function as animal sustenance, food fascinates Saghatelian in terms of its sociological, cultural, and mythological ritualization. Ever since the advent of civilization, food has functioned as both object and facilitator of ceremony, at as much the familial as the collective, societal levels. Food also continues to serve as an indicator of social standing and wealth – or the lack thereof.

Saghatelian investigates yet another fundamental aspect of food: that of excess, registering variously as either gluttony or decadence, or both, in which case food functions effectively as a drug, a sublimation of deeper psychological issues. Throughout the “Victuals” series, Saghatelian achieves a multiplicity of wondrous compositional contrasts and concordances, in which the timeless themes and significances of food, teeming with the specific hues and atmospherics of their respective time periods, vie for fresh meaning and interpretation.