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Nadia Ismail
Eat Me


The erotic red mouth of the artist Lia Anna Hennig with its perfect white teeth fills the frame, resembling a painting. As her video performance Eat Me progresses, however, the lips that were so tantalizingly beautiful are gradually transformed by the camera zooming in on the mucous membranes into an amorphous, fleshy mass. The animalistic feel culminates in a close-up of a bubble-gum bubble bursting across the garishly coloured lips. Like a fish eye, the red, meat-like piece of gum rests in the midst of the explosion, until it is greedily sucked back in by the lipstick-smeared mouth.

The metamorphosis of the sensory organ into a cell-like substance receives humorous support from the soundtrack. Moaning, lust-filled outcries at the beginning underscore the erotic component, segueing into gnashing teeth and wild smacking sounds to evoke the image of a cannibal. Finally, the bursting of the bubble is acoustically highlighted in comic-like exaggeration by ‘ping’ and ‘pop’ sounds. The cognitive process of association is echoed visually by the explosion of colour on the monitor, covering all nuances in the red spectrum. Here, Hennig shows us, tongue-in-cheek as it were, how the mouth can be an ambivalent tool capable of running the gamut from kissing to biting, cannibalism to glamour, eroticism to revulsion.