Archives for category: Art

Very sad to hear that the death of Chantal Akerman is reported as suicide.

I’m posting some of the cooking scenes in Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles a film rhythmically punctuated by cooking as an extraordinary ordinary ritual. Maybe it’s the great cooking film actually, in how much is revealed of character through the enactment of labour, chore and responsibility and the social/personal weight of culture.

Read about Chantal Ackerman films here.  I hope (probably not possible) to see this London exhibition of her art and video work 30 October – 6 December, 2015.

potato surprise   thomas' trucks

I have a Celebrity Crush.  Well… maybe she’s not really a celebrity, but Sophie Herxheimer is a London artist who works with people, stories and food.  She’s an incredibly creative artist and poet, and I get that tingle of excitement and possibility when I see or read her work.  It seems like her talents, interests, politics, and spirit are united and energised in a way I aspire mine to be.  She works with topics beyond food— but I wanted to share with Kitchen Counter Culture readers some of the work that might interest us the most.

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DACS; (c) DACS; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

DACS; (c) DACS; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Something reminded me of this great article I read a few years ago about cabbages in art.  I especially like Alexandra Harris’s description of Stanley Spencer’s painting “The Dustman”:

“This 1934 work shows the resurrection of rubbish from an ordinary household dustbin: all our forgotten scraps gloriously risen from the dead. Children hold out a broken teapot and a jam jar, and – in the middle of the picture – there’s a bedraggled but beautifully deep-veined cabbage. For Spencer, this was a painting about the things we forget to worship: ‘All the signs and tokens of home life, such as cabbage leaves and teapot, which I have so much loved that I have had them resurrected from the dustbin because they are reminders of home life and peace.'”

If I had a grandmother, I’d love to take part in this project.  If my children still had their grandmothers, I’d so support them to make a film.

A filmmaker, Jonas Pariente, is raising money to finish films, and post them on an interactive website. Anyone can make and submit them. Film your grandmother, get a recipe from her, and the rest– style, concept– is yours to be creative with.  I love this idea so much.  I wonder if I could do a conceptual, fictional one?

Here’s his Kickstarter campaign to donate if you are able to.  And share.  And interview your grandmother, if you are blessed to still have one, when the time comes.

Give yourself the pleasure of Full Screen.

Love the chickens and the eggs, love the typewriter, love the jars of beans and grains, love the lyrics, love her voice, love the Mariachi… Love the cookies devouring eachother. Love everything!!!!!!!!  Zoe Boekbinder is clearly a fabulous creative force and I bet she makes great chocolate chip cookies.

Oh my, just learned there’s an exhibition in London of the work of this painter, Renato Guttuso, through the 4th of April.  And who knew he illustrated Elizabeth David’s Italian Food?  This is a very fascinating look into the history and politics of that particular aesthetic matching.

In the comments 0f the original post, the brilliant Sicilian GodMother has really shared a lot of knowledge about the market painting, The Vucciria, more than I could have hoped for!  I quote her here:

“The original – which is absolutely huge – hangs in Palazzo Steri in Palermo now. A professor at Palermo University had it hidden away in his room for decades, imagine that!
The man in the yellow jumper is Renato Guttuso (the artist) himself, and the old woman in black is his wife: in the picture he showed her as much older than she really was. The three women in white, red and green dresses are all his mistress, shown from three different angles, and portrayed as much younger than she actually was. In reality she was the same age as his wife.
Guttuso lived most if his life in Rome and missed a lot of the foods you can only get in Sicily, so he had a phase of painting food along with women, his two great sensual pleasures.
This market was founded by the North African invaders of Sicily over 1,000 years ago and flourished like a chaotic souk for ten centuries. Sicilians say “it was a vucciria” the way we in English say “It was bedlam” or “It was a madhouse”.
Very recently the Vucciria has become lacklustre and quite empty, but there are other street markets in Palermo, as old as the Vucciria, which are still like this.”

Kitchen Counter Culture

A Painting, A Market, An Enticement

I’ve been a collage maker for most of my life,  have boxes and boxes of assorted materials, things I’ve collected, torn from magazines, etc. I have no idea where this is from, but I ripped it out long ago and kept it. And I love it.

I love the scene, the seafood, the eggs, the vegetables (are those cardoons in the front right?), the olives, the people, the bare light bulbs, and especially the loaded moment of the encounter that is just about to happen between the man in the yellow shirt and the woman with the bags and the nice bum.

In its day, I’d guess this would have been thought of as a market, not a farmers market or a specialist market or even, probably, an alternative to a supermarket.  It just WAS.   WHERE people bought their food.  Something to re-envision.

Wish I were there.

Where do…

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Something kind of momentous happened today.  I read the Rumi poem “Chickpea to Cook” for the first time. What a feat of imagination, to identify yourself as a chickpea being cooked, and to conceive this as a metaphor for how life shapes us.  A chickpea, anthropomorphised.   I recognise that there must be great artistry as well as contention between translations of Rumi, because the first version I include feels so darn contemporary, especially compared to other, earlier ones.

Chickpea to Cook (translated by Coleman Barks) Read the rest of this entry »

A short film about the beautiful, intense, terrifying Mystery of Existence.  Wanted to share.  Filed under: Kitchen Tips.

Yesterday I read something MARVELOUS in the on-line magazine Soiled and Seeded — a piece by a Canadian artist Nicole Dextras about how her work reflects growth and decay, seasonality, our relationship to nature–in a context of incredible plant knowledge, craftsmanship, beauty and art-historical reference to amazing garments and mobile living structures (ie types of tents, as in yurts and teepees).  She makes these dresses from plants, leaves, foods, and flowers on armatures also woven from botanical materials.  Actors in the dresses interact with passers-by in various settings, teaching, chatting, explaining, and the dresses are breathtaking in their prime yet equally stunning and stimulating in their decay.

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I had to be in London, and felt grateful, with my interest in food politics and a lapsed personal art practice, to catch the last day of The Politics of Food at the gallery of the Delfina Foundation near Victoria. Many thanks to Edible Geography for alerting me to this exhibition.

There are many artists who engage with food as a medium and a topic, with the rituals of feasting and fasting, with describing our relationship individually, socially, and culturally to it all.  But I haven’t actually seen much of this work.  I have made pieces that played with issues of domesticity, corporate dominance and food, and I’ve imagined a great theoretical project about nostalgia and ethnicity that I would like to realise someday.  I also have some inchoate but active ideas about climate change and onions that I will try to give time to.  Beyond this, I was just really curious how an art show with the theme “Food Politics” would be conceptualised and curated to represent the diverse approaches of individual artists.

There were amazing pieces here, and they deserve a wider audience. The best review I could find describes the exhibition pretty well, even if in slightly opaque art-crit speak.  I’m compelled to write about the exhibition myself, from the point of view of an artist seeking to understand why some art is both moving and pedagogical (ie, teaches and helps the viewer to think/think through an issue) without being overbearing or ideological or desiring a specific reaction or response.  However, I wouldn’t necessarily be against a piece that sought to campaign– I’m open.

(The quotations in green are from the page that is offered to visitors upon entering the gallery space.) Read the rest of this entry »

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