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On Gastronomy and Art: An interview with Peter Ungeheuer

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On Gastronomy and Art

An interview and sneak preview of the new tasty performance and exhibition ‘La Table Ronde’ at Diskurs Berlin, curated by Peter Ungeheuer

Peter Ungeheuer held the second exclusive interview for Azucar where he talked to us about the new exhibition at Diskurs Berlin. The exhibition brings together art and exquisite French cuisine for a few experienced participants who will engage in a lively discussion about food and art. From usable and edible sculptures to food videos and aromatic installations, the rich conceptual and artistic context, known in the work of Peter, is very promising for even the most demanding palates.

 

Vanessa:

So, could you say a couple of words about the concept of ‘La Table Ronde’?

Peter:

Well, it’s a ‘double’ event: on the one hand, we have the performance and on the other hand the exhibition but both are tightly connected to one another. There are works on bread, on cheese, on fish, on wine etc., but also artworks about the role of food and society. We have divided the space in two: the paintings, the collages, the sculptures and the performance (during the exhibition) are in the front room of the space and in the back, are the videos, the installations and the small sculptures. This works as orientation for the visitors. There is also an educational part in the whole concept because people will discuss about art and think about art. Every time a course arrives, I and my kitchen companions Paris Giachoustidis and Lukas Glinkowski explain a little bit before what the meal is about, the context of culinary history and how this course is connected to the artworks we have matched them with. There dishes are all traditional recipes which are either served in a wrong way nowadays or simply going forgotten, in the time of globalization.

 

Vanessa:

What about the exhibition and the participating artists?

Peter:

It is a mix of well-established and young artists, most of them from Berlin. Most of the artworks have been conceived for this exhibition, some have a fine exhibition history. The interesting thing is to show some artworks many of them referring to art history dealing with artistic media with which the artists are not typically associated, combined with more “classical” ones. We would like to present all major artistic media, activate all five senses on the wall, the floor and the ceiling; all that without even being close to show all aspects of a gastronomic meal.

 

Vanessa:

This sounds very interesting. What does curating mean in this context? What is your role as a curator in this project?

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Peter:

We could say that this is an ‘over-curated’ exhibition, because the works are made to fit a very strict concept. It is also an important role of the curator in this case to integrate the works into the exhibition concept. However, I always keep in mind the most important job of a curator: to present the artworks in the best way possible, they are the stars of the show.

 

Vanessa:

‘Good’ in which way?

Peter:

In every way, so that each one of them can also function as an artwork, and yet under the umbrella of a general concept. The concept allows the public to get one more than one perspective, more questions about the artworks and I hope thereby to deepen the reflection on every single artwork; Or at least attract additional attention.

 

Vanessa:

Then would you not agree with the idea that the point of curating is to present works in a way that they can engage with each other to present an overarching concept?

Peter:

Yes, that’s another thing though. I also do this in this exhibition but it’s only to facilitate the navigation of the visitor. The main objective remains to trigger thinking about the immaterial aspect of eating. Together with Jung Me Chai we decided to create an exhibition with art and the French gastronomic meal (which is much more than “food”, but a cultural concept), somewhat connected into a single, unified show. And the artists were chosen to present different aspects on the subject, not only when it comes to different media but also to the engagement with the five senses.

 

Vanessa:

Would you call this in a way interactive?

Peter:

Actually not; But that is the role of the performers at the table, which have a dinner in the spirit of the French gastronomic meal as a UNESCO cultural heritage. Before serving the courses, I will be giving a small introduction on what each meal is about and making a connection with the respective work that I think it fits to trigger the discussion at the table.

 

Vanessa:

I heard that the French say, “whatever comes on the table shall be consumed, as long as it’s good prepared”. Do you think the same applies to art?

Peter:

I generally think that we have less respect for the art than for food, at least in the French culture. But it would be good if art would be treated with the same respect as the French treat their food.

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Vanessa:

What are the biggest challenges you met in this curatorial project?

Peter:

There are some. The first if of course that when you have so many ‘commissioned’ works by different artists (22) for a particular exhibition, then some of them during the process may have to change the concept (for good reasons) and then one has to see how we can slightly adopt the general concept in order to fit these changes in, even during the last days before the opening. The second would be the financial perspective: it is a non-commercial exhibition and we must be extremely grateful to the participating artists for their efforts and contributions.

 

Vanessa:

And this would be my last question. What do you think is the role of gastronomy in art nowadays?

Peter:

There are many parallels to this, as “food art weeks” that are globally popping up. There has already been a cook who was in the Documenta; earlier gastronomy would be taught in Beaux Arts in France. Most artworks are supposed to have a permanent character, but food is always ephemeral. But there is a function that food has that art doesn’t have, food also sustains us physically to survive. Is Beuys right in saying that every man is an artist? Or is art whatever an artist says it is? There is of course right and wrong in both sentences, and therefore I wouldn’t easily say that cooking is art and a meal is an artwork just because a painter puts something in a frying pan. But being interested in the immaterial side of eating, not just the material one, has a lot to do with art.

 

Peter Ungeheuer has studied economics, political science and decision techniques in Germany and France; his main profession being a free-lance management consultant. During the last years, he has curated some single and group shows in Austria and Germany.

 


La Table Ronde

15.10.2017 – 14.01.2018

 

Opening

Sat., 14.10, 5 to 10 PM

 

Artists

Katharina Arndt · Fritz Bornstück · Stefano Cagol · Jimok Choi · Heiner Franzen · Jay Gard · Pierre Granoux · Gregor Hildebrandt · Christian Hoischen / Oliver Mark · Kristiane Kegelmann · Zinu Kim·Timo Klöppel ·Thomas Rentmeister · Stefan Rinck · Pietro Sanguineti · Nina E. Schönefeld ·Sador Weinsčlucker · Li Zhenhua  · Thomas Zitzwitz

 

Curator: Peter Ungeheuer

Assistant Curator: Gyusik Lee

La Table Ronde will be served by:

Paris Giachoustidis · Lukas Glinkowski · Peter Ungeheuer

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/605299976260426/