Jani Leinonen. Hunger King, 2014.
Born in Hyvinkää, Finland in 1978.
Jani Leinonen (b. 1978 lives and works in Helsinki) is known for his provocative, yet playful works criticizing capitalism and our self-centered consumerist society of today. In his practice, the artist often pinpoints timely issues and dares the viewer to think outside of one’s comfort zone by taking the most saturated aspects of our modern world and re-presenting them in constantly thought-provoking ways. Inspired by popular culture, corporate brands, and marketing strategies, Leinonen shamelessly adapts the same tactics, turning his objects into articles of ridicule, clichéing our agreed marketing society and economical every day. What is displayed, though, are not goods but an artistic allegorization that appropriates these marketing strategies only to unhinge their underlying assumptions about value and appropriateness.
A handmade wooden grill kiosk was set up in Kamppi shopping center, Helsinki city center. The menu gave the visitor two options: a top quality local and organic Take Away menu, or a Give Away menu, which saw food redistributed to those in need.
Enough food is produced on the planet to feed one billion more people than currently live on it. It’s not logical, or even viable, to set aside even more land space on the planet for food production. The only options are to improve our appreciation of food, to minimize what gets thrown out, and to distribute food more equally.
Selling better food that people appreciate more means we can both produce less and waste less. Hunger King aimed to highlight a positive everyday solution to the global issue of waste, and the reckless attitudes to food that play a role in the deaths of 17,000 children every day. 50% of all food produced on the planet is wasted while one billion people are starving.