The First Meal, a group exhibition designed by Yvannoé Kruger, with Marilou Thiébault. From 18 june to 5 september.
The First Meal is the first installment of a cycle of three exhibitions dedicated to the meal.
Beyond the vital function of food, this cycle aims to explore the social and creative implications of the meal, where guests meet around a table and stories are told. From its preparation to its digestion, the meal is a ceremony for which the fruits of nature are seized, transformed and assimilated. It shapes both the body and the mind. In fact, this assimilation stems from cycles of matter that combine all living beings in an endless mise en abyme, brilliantly described in Hamlet. The latter reminds the king that “a man may fish with the worm that hath eat of a king, and eat of the fish that hath fed of that worm” and summarizes this intestinal choreography by showing “how a king may go a progress through the guts of a beggar.”
This cycle aims to explore the modes of transformation and consumption of food while illustrating their symbolic and semantic richness in the field of visual arts. Like the artist’s studio, the kitchen appears as a place of metamorphosis, a laboratory of empirical chemistry. The techniques used in one discipline find their counterpoint in the other, and seem to move freely from the history of art to the history of coo
king. Under cover of a primary and biological necessity, a meal is also an aesthetic experience. For the host, it completes a series of trials, failures, experimentation; for the guests, it is the fortunate discovery of a new state of matter, where pleasure is intimately linked to the opportunity of enjoying it together.
At a time when the attention and concerns regarding the practices of the food industry keep growing, this cycle of exhibitions aims to put the essential relationship between humanity and food back on the table. Evoking the rituals that come with the meal, these exhibitions will explore the beliefs that surround it and the powers that are attributed to it, drawing the connections between cosmogonic order, culinary organization and disposition of the mind, of the humors and of the senses.
The three parts of this cycle are dedicated to three dimensions: the flame (the raw and the cooked), sublimation through degradation (fermentation and molds), and asepsis (death according to Pasteur).
The First Meal focuses on the representations of an essential and archetypal meal.
The hunting and the gathering are done, and so the first groups of hosts can meet around the hearth, where the aliments are cooked; in French, “foyer” means both “hearth” and “home”. During these first meals, our ancestors learnt to domesticate the night. They spoke in the past tense and in the future tense, told stories, some of which stood the test of time through myths and legends. In fact, the myth of the gift of fire to mankind, made famous by the figure of Prometheus, is both the most archaic and the widest-spread story on Earth. These night scenes were probably the first field of play and expression of artists, and possibly even the revealer of their vocation. It is night, let the artists come in!
We can imagine how the silhouettes projected on the walls of the caves excited the imagination, turning the meal into a shadow play. So the fire, the support of meals and stories, is at the heart of these scenes, with a central flame that also has to be fed. It is the common thread of these discussions and of this exhibition, which focuses on the phenomenon of cooking, from the Promethean myth to the arts of fire, as well as culinary chemistry. It declines the dialectic of the raw and the cooked in the works of sixteen artists: Arnaud Adami, Iván Argote, Cecilia Bengolea, Julia Borderie & Éloïse Le Gallo, Nicolas Boulard, Alex Cecchetti, Caroline Corbasson, Charles Hascoët, Matthew Lutz-Kinoy, Desire Moheb-Zandi, Margot Pietri, Leï Saïto, Edgar Sarin, Bruno Verjus and Manon Wertenbroek.