An Art Cafe Where You Can Eat the Artwork is Headed for London

An ‘art cafe’ where you can eat the artwork will launch in south east London this spring in a bid to draw attention to sustainable food practices

Lead image: Jello by Pixy Liao (2015)

‘It looks too good to eat’ is a mantra mumbled by many an Instagrammer as the poached eggs and avo carefully positioned in front of the smartphone camera goes tragically cold… (we’ve all been there).

But if your food really is a work of art, then one simply must do it for the ‘gram, right?

Off to Peckham, then, for Tender Touches, an ‘art cafe’ where everything from the food to the furniture and the tableware is both a functional object and an artwork. That’s right, even the crockery is profound.

Taking place at AMP Gallery from 17 May until 30 June 2019, the exhibition blurs the lines between the gallery, the studio and the dining room, creating a multi-sensory experience where visitors are encouraged to see food as they might view art.

The food menu – designed and cooked by London-based Portuguese artist and co-curator Inês Neto dos Santos, known for her food-based practice – will be inspired by her interest in sustainable food practices like preservation and fermentation, and aims to use food as a catalyst for conversation and debate.

‘Food as a medium of artistic expression and social commentary has a long history, and is experiencing something of a revival with a number of recent exhibitions and major institutional shows,’ said co-curators Huma Kabakci and Inês Neto dos Santos.

‘While forming the theme for Tender Touches, we were inspired by many historical references including the artist-run restaurant, FOOD, initiated by Gordon Matta-Clark and Carol Gooden in New York in 1971 and Gertrude Stein’s 1914 book Tender Buttons, which explores multi-sensory experiences in the everyday.

‘Food as a medium of artistic expression and social commentary has a long history and is experiencing something of a revival’

‘Through our collaboration, we wanted to challenge the formal approach to exhibition-making through the interactive nature of visitors eating together, but also question the dynamics of the exhibition space through the presentation of functional art objects.’

Bon appetite! (Bonfim, Inês Neto dos Santos, Illustration School residency, Porto, 2018)

A further 11 artists will create new commissions that make up every element of the cafe.

Sit at dining tables stencilled with biomorphic designs made by Coco Crampton, dine off hand sculpted ceramic crockery produced by Bea Bonafini, and eat using cutlery designed by Lindsey Mendick.

Bespoke wallpaper created by Marco Palmieri and paintings using corn, clay and diverse exotic fruits by Magda Skupinska will decorate the walls.

The waiters will carry mirrored trays printed with photographs by Pixy Liao, while wearing hand embroidered aprons created by Cecilia Charlton and Goia Mujalli.

Tender Touches, co-curated by Huma Kabakci and Inês Neto dos Santos, forms part of arts organisation Open Space’s new annually recurring exhibition series, Edible Goods, that will explore food as a medium in contemporary art.

A series of accompanying talks, supper clubs and performances will be announced shortly.

AMP Gallery, 1 Acorn Parade, Peckham SE15 2TZ;


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