Unlike the rest of the magCulture team, I don’t enjoy eating pickles. So reviewing the latest issue of French food mag Club Sandwich was a difficult task to warm to. That it charmed me into selecting it as Magazine of the Week speaks volumes for its creative team.
A magazine solely involving pickles might seem a stretch but the 146 pages offer a healthy mix of creative portrayals of the small briney, green cucumbers as well as more discursive written pieces. Or to put it more prosaically, it might be described as a cross between the absurd visual responses of Ordinary and the researched detail of MacGuffin. But that would be to deny the unique qualities present in the mag.
Opening with a typically straight-but-silly series of photos by Erwin Wurm (above), the longer articles are regularly interupted by other interventions from artists inlducing Clay Hickson (below), Molly Greene and David Avazzadeh. Pickles appear as huge outdoor sculptures, hair decorations and as a foil for a series of cubist nudes. The issue is packed with pickles of all types and size.
The longer pieces provide cultural and historical contexts. We learn how pickles jars provide a focus for long-held taboos surrounding menustration in India (above); how they were a source of vitamin C for early sailors, and how that in turn resulted in the invention of the sealed jar (below).
Elsewhere the marketing genius of Henry J Heinz is revealed to be built on his early work selling pickles; the curious world of the Pickle Packers International and their desire to link the cucumber to any and every news event or holiday is revealed, with some wonderful archive images (below).
Club Sandwich treads a careful line between silliness and information, celebrating its subject without ever being too overbearing. All texts appear in both English and French, a tough design problem that’s made to look easy in its large pages.
The pickle is a fun food – the magazine expresses this perfectly – and although the makers describe their publication as part-book, part magazine, it could only be a magazine. The loose, zine-like aesthetic and typographic playfulness ensure that, and the perfect balance between content and design makes an ideal mid-summer Magazine of the Week.
Despite all that, I’m not sure I’m going to start eating pickles anytime soon.
Editor-in-chief/artistic director: Anna Broujean
Editorial committee: Leila Boutnam, Marie Saraiva
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