Exhibition "Food as a social machine". Part 2.


01.08 - 01.09.2017

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The Central Volga Branch of the National Centre for Contemporary Arts (NCCA) affiliated to ROSIZO

With the support of the company «RUSS OUTDOOR»

urator - Nelya Korzhova

Artists: Yinon Avior (Israel), Yuri Albert (Russia), Stefano Bergamo (Italy), Dmitry Bulnygin (Russia), German Vinogradov (Russia), Oleg Elagin (Russia), Leyla Karipova (Russia), Johanna Carlin (Sweden), Sergey Katran (Russia), Olga Kisseleva (France), Edith Lajos (Germany), Pier Paolo Patty (Italy), Vito Pace (Italy), Vladimir Potapov (Russia), Natasha Steinert (Russia), Zoya Falkova (Kazakhstan), Thomas C. Chung (Germany), Ellen Skafvenstedt (Sweden), Henrik Ekesiöö (Norway), Alexandra Ianchenko. 

During the summer of 2017 we are pleased to present the next exhibition of our multi-year project "Street as a museum - a museum as a street" http://www.ncca.ru/en/programs.text?filial=9&id=57. This time, the focus of the project's attention is the theme of food. Food - the first association with the Factory-kitchen, a large mechanized public catering enterprise in the 1930s in the USSR, and now a monument of constructivism in Samara, on the basis of which our branch was established. In the era when kitchen factories were being created, the word "feed" meant also to instill a new idea of the life order. In our time, this trend is gaining momentum again. The main innovations in the distribution of food (as well as other resources) of the last century lie in the field of mechanization and advertising. Factories for making food and its promotion in the mass media have merged. People should trust the advertisement before they know the taste. Our project itself works on advertising media, in this it is a surprise and a good opportunity for dialogue with the viewer, who is offered a free product where traditionally there is a sale.


1.Olga Kisseleva, «Still life: psychological portrait»

«It’s difficult to imagine life in Tibet if you haven’t been there yourself. At five thousand meters of altitude, I breathe with difficulty. I walk ten steps forward and then I need to take a break, out of breath. In July, here it is winter time. The air is cold, an icy wind never stops blowing. To survive, you need some grain, but above all – products derived from the yak. Yak meat, yak cheese, yak butter. 

However, despite the simple conditions and the rusticity, everyone says that they are doing well and they explain why: one person says he is doing well, because he has meditated, someone else says they live in harmony with nature, someone else says it’s because he has read an interesting book. 

Definitely, Tibetan monks are doing better than the artists and the public of the Venice Biennale».

Olga Kisseleva: "The still life is part of photographic project "ACCIDENTS" (2010-2011), built around a number of modern photographic still lifes, each of which is accompanied by a narrative text.

The historical reference of the project to the European pictorial still life of the 17th-18th centuries (Jean Baptiste Chardin, Willem Claesz Heda) is evident thanks to the system of allegories, but Kiseleva still lifes are read through the modern sign and emotional codes of each composition object.

The project was created in collaboration with a group of Sorbonne researchers, consisting of art historians, sociologists and writers. At the first stage theoreticians have created a modern vocabulary of symbols. Then, 49 mini-novels were commissioned by the Parisian writer Elena Vilovich. Each text describes an event from the life of the artist and is built around several key words from the dictionary. Finally, the artist created still-lifes, illustrating each story. In accordance with the tradition of the still life of the 17th century, the objects selected for the still life correspond to the key words of the text.

This fragment tells the story of the creation of the performative project «How are you?» (1998-2004), in which Kiseleva asked this question to the public in various cultural and social contexts, in particular within the framework of the 49th Venice Biennale (1999), and in Tibet, which the artist visited at the invitation of the Dalai Lama in the same year.


2. Leyla Karipova, "Basic rules for eating" 

Leyla Karipova: " The mother is a symbol of the general culture of consumption. A person, in this context, is a child. The individual is imposed a culture of consumption, his idea of life is formed by an artificial method: through society and his tools. A more detailed deepening in the process of forming personal convictions and as a consequence of personal choice through the influence of the surrounding world. Here you can draw a parallel with veganism. It would seem - selective food and the exclusion of traditional products for humans, such as meat - his personal choice. But if you look closely, it becomes clear that this choice would not be accepted without a huge flow of imposed information from the media, actively agitating to exclude meat from the diet, appealing with different arguments and facts".


3. Oleg Elagin, "New Media - New Food" 


Oleg Elagin:

"In the modern information system the Internet acts as one of the means of publishing and disseminating media content, along with other information carriers used by journalists. And now, having woken up in the morning, a man of the 21st century, along with a tasty and healthy breakfast, receives his portion of media data. Unfortunately, s well as his not always useful modified breakfast, these data are not fresh, altered and manipulative. Also this phrase sends us to the well-known TOR network (short for The Onion Router) - free and open software for implementation so-called onion routing llowing to establish an anonymous network connection, protected from listening. The author urges to monitor the quality of the media food used". 


4. Pier Paolo Patti, «Untitled»

Pier Paolo Patti: "The subject of the work is food in in the meaning of "sharing" and "deprivation" at the same time. The sequence of frames comes from a footage in a refugee camp which depicts the distribution of food: a gesture of solidarity hiding a sense of guilt. This artwork is a declared invitation to think about the topic of "starving people" through years of incorrect expansionistic politics that turned "feeding" into a literal "starving", which is the turning point of the settlement of new political balance. Specific attention must be paid on people, on their faces, on their arms striving for a piece of bread: daily gestures in a loop, through a yelling crowd.

The frames are composed in a Manneristic way in order to show a scene with no time and no geographical reference. So the total drawing becomes the metaphor for pain and dispair: on one side there is who throws the bread, and on the other side there is who receive the bread, both hanging in an eternal balance. Places and times should be different, substance remains the same, as always and forever".


5. Stefano Bergamo, «good.ne(p)t”

Stefano Bergamo: Control oil and you control nations; control food and you control the people’: these were the words of Henry Kissinger, former US Secretary of State. In fact the food is, along with water, essential to the survival and therefore at the top of the pyramid of human needs. No human being can live without it, but the kind of food we consume is largely decided by multinationals through massive marketing efforts that influence the food culture, trends and choices of the end consumer. In this way food becomes a status symbol and one of the main factors of social discrimination: it is glam vegan food, it is fashion the wine bar or the Zone diet? It means that food creates a style, a way of being and socializing with our own kind fellows. Ludwig Andreas Feuerbach asserted that ''we are what we eat'' and, therefore, if you control food you also control the culture of the time.

I represented this concept through the Genius Popoli romani, also known as Lare Farnese, a sculpture of exceptional size from the Roman era dating back to the 2nd century AD. now at the National Archaeological Museum of Naples. The sculpture shows a young man identified as Genius, a protective and vital spirit for the Roman people who exerted his benign influence on every aspect of Roman society.

The statue has survived plagues, vandalism, bombings, wars and famines. Will the art be able to escape the contemporary instrumentalization that transforms culture into a testimonial of food consumption, becoming itself subordinate to an enslaved culture that it has contributed to generate?»


6. Vladimir Potapov, "Picturesque existence"

Vladimir Potapov: "At all times, artists with special trepidation related to the arrangement of their own palette. This action was a mystical ritual. Each artist had his own secret of disposition and mixing of colors, which were jealously guarded and often carried away with them to the grave. For this reason, the interest in the techniques of old masters is so great today. Museums and auction houses spend expensive examinations to determine the authenticity of paintings, based on a unique author's technique. And here the palette in this chain is the starting point. In the work, the frying pan replaces the classical plane of the palette and thus turns the paint into an object of symbolic consumption".


7. Vito Pace, «Spoon bullet»

Vito Pace: "The work arises from a rework of the sculpture called Spoon Bullet (2009), which was photographed and then digitally deleted. It evokes a German adage: «Mit einem goldenen Löffel im Munde geboren sein» (being born with a silver spoon in one's mouth), which indicates a person born rich who has all the opportunities already in the cradle. However, the cleansing of this spoon, which is a symbol of the privileged condition, through digital erasure connects with the notion of lack of food, the struggle for survival: luxury, privileges, opportunities "in the cradle" are not for everyone, and often the individual is condemned to failing no matter how he/she commits to.

The lack of food for millions of people is, in this sense, the highest indicator of the decline of civilization. According to the FAO, around 795 million people suffer starvation in the world: most of them live in developing countries but 14.7 million live in fully developed countries. Moreover, campaigns like "Oil for Food" have turned out to be giant tools of corruption.

In addition, food distribution often follows political rules, such as embargoes that invest whole nations, on ONU or individual countries' decisions that afflict people.

Food has thus become a tool of repression, persuasion and political exchange, transcending this way the fundamental role it has for every human being.

Spoon Bullet represents how iniquity raised to a system through the evocation of that very "golden spoon" that marks the boundary between those who have been destined from birth to win everything and who are condemned to hardships and deprivations".


8. Zoya Falkova, "When wings are cut"

Zoya Falkova: "The President of Kazakhstan compared the state of affairs in the country with pain in the shoulders of the caterpillar, which has wings cut. Poetic metaphor in the mouth of a politician, especially a metaphor, deviating from stubborn facts, gives rise to many side-effects. Comparison of the economic crisis with the shoulder pain of the caterpillar, diligently growing its wings, gave birth to a questionnaire-perplexity ornament. Triptych "When wings are cut" - this is a question of the quality of the transformations and the promised flight; this is a conversation about the consumption that has been cultivated in the cult and whether flight is possible under its multi-vector conditions".

9. Henrik Ekesiöö, «Untitled»

10. Dmitry Bulnygin, «Bird and bread»

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