Intertextuality is the shaping of an artwork’s meaning by other artwork. It can refer to an artist borrowing and transforming a prior work or to a viewer referencing of one artwork in viewing another. The term “intertextuality” has, itself, been borrowed and transformed many times since it was coined by Julia Kristeva in 1966.
Death by Shampoo evokes David’s “Death of Marat”. Marat was murdered in his bathtub by an enemy. In a way, the pursuit of beauty can be the death of other important elements in our psyche, namely self-esteem and confidence. Not a violent murder, but a slow and painful one.
Death by Slimfast is a tribute to Grande Odalesque, by Ingres. The original painting shows a concubine. Grande Odalisque attracted was criticized when it was first shown for its elongated proportions and lack of anatomical realism. The Slimfast photo has as its textual reference the pressure put on women for centuries to conform to an ideal body type. Slimfast has made millions of dollars but has very few sustained successes– the body type and the ideal are just not that realistic.
Muerte por Bananas references Alfred Hitchcock’s classic horror film, “The Birds”. In the film, tame lovebirds become vicious, pigeons peck out the eyes of unsuspecting island vacationers, and crows kill people. The film is so effective because it is not about something really dangerous, like wolves or sharks for example. Bananas are a very silly looking food, pigeons are rather silly birds. I think this is the connection.