Artist Icon Zar dreamed up “Fine dining experience with a hungry artist” back in 2021, but the pandemic got in the way. The project consists of a series of initiatives, and this time we are talking about arte pobre, it's influences on her art and rethinking recycling in 2023.

Icon Zar

Icon Zar is a visionary artist originating from Russia, living in Mallorca for the past 20 years. Her art goes beyond the conventional, beckoning viewers into a visual journey that fosters cross-cultural dialogues and inspires both conversation and action. While she is renowned for her artistic skills, Icon Zar is equally celebrated for her activism and philanthropy, utilizing her art to incite positive change in her community.

Hedonist at heart, Icon Zar loves oysters, caviar and champagne. Inspired by arte pobre, she found a way to incorporate oyster shells - that would otherwise be discarded - into her art, giving them a new lease of life as well as making a statement in the process.

“Arte Pobre”

“Arte Pobre”, or "Poor Art," is an art movement that emerged in Italy during the late 1960s (It: arte povera). Led by artists like Jannis Kounellis and Michelangelo Pistoletto, it focused on the use of simple, everyday materials such as wood, rags, and even organic matter. The movement sought to break down the barriers between art and life, challenging the commercial aspects of the art world. Arte Pobre aimed to make art more accessible, eliminating the need for specialized materials or techniques. At its core, the movement was a form of anti-establishment expression, illustrating the potency of simplicity in an increasingly complex world.

In terms of her own arte pobre, Icon Zar draws inspiration from Mallorcan most famous son in law - Miró - who famously also used random discarded objects for his sculpture, including an old bread loaf made by his wife. The power of transformation - turning the mundane into the extraordinary - serves as a recurring theme in Zar's artistic narrative. Her work is also influenced by the following artists and works…

- Dali: thinking outside of box

- A.Warhol - inspired by 4 min. video, where artist eat hamburger as part of American culture: “Seahorse Burger Movement”, 2023 (discussed in the previous column)

- Picasso (French lifestyle): “Gossip Oysters”, 2023 (in the 19th century they were food for masses in Europe, in the 20th they became high gastronomy

- Lucio Fontana: “Golden Cut”, “ Social Cocaine” (made from luxury property catalogues)

- Frida Kalo: “Self Poirtrets”

- Georgia O’ Keefee (flowers as female parts): “ Hidden Roses”, “ Crocodile Skin” (made from medicinal masks)

- Malevich- “Black Square” vagina graffiti

- John Lennon: vagina graffiti “War is Over”

- V. Mayakovsky (Russian poet) – “Secret Garden” or “Urban Poetry” (made from used coffee capsules)

- Madonna as feminist symbol and a continuous source of inspiration

Franzette Kitchen & Bar

For this month's "Fine dining with a hungry artist", Icon Zar and I were invited to Franzette Kitchen & Bar on Av. Joan Miro, by Derek Mac Gowan, an Irish businessman and a food critic who travelled "2.5 times around the planet" and invested into restaurants in many countries on several continents. This stylish restaurant is hosed in the former home of an Argentinian painter Tito Cittadini, adding yet another interesting connection to this artistic story.

Amongst an array of surprising delicacies, we tasted their Oyster with kimchee juice, shiso oil and fish roe and Oyster with mignonette. Both were surprising, and absolutely delicious. Once we finished, Icon Zar made sure that the shells were added to the stack she would later collect and use in her art.

What's next for the Seahorse Movement?

Icon Zar remains diligently committed to her seahorse protection initiative and is eagerly anticipating upcoming partnerships with local island chefs.

Michelin star maestros and culinary creators of the island – Join forces with Icon Zar to protect seahorses by creating “Chef's Personal Seahorse Burger” in your restaurants and donate one euro to protect seahorses with Palma Aquarium Foundation or another marine charity of your choice. Make a difference, one burger at a time!*

*no seahorses will ever be used in the burgers