Food and Art in Beijing

Editing the Dining and Art section of the magazine, I realised food and art overlap too often, in the most bizarre ways. The Ullens Centre for Contemporary Art Beijing has started a cooking series with artists doing demonstrations at their in house restaurant, Super Ganbei. I should be going down this week or next to make some videos.

The press release says something like this:
Ten artists are invited to Super Ganbei to cook. Their dishes are likely to be included into the official menu of the restaurant. We are trying to make the restaurant, Super Ganbei more dynamic and to connected it more closely with Chinese contemporary art since it’s not only a place for dining. UCCA is a home for creativity.

Sounds pretty interesting. I’m really looking forward to see how it’d work out. With an artist’s eye for detail, colours and presentation, the dishes are definitely going to look brilliant held together by a strong concept. I once met a chef who said that he’s all for making simple good food and not fussed about doing fancy presentations because an artist/designer could do much better.

A few months ago, Chinese artist Ju Duoqi showcased her reinterpretation of famous historical paintings by using only vegetables to create them. Her exhibition Vegetable Museum brings even the most iconic paintings to ground level. In a way, her work is an empowerment of women, using the humble vegetables and women’s stereotypical role of slicing and dicing to recreate historical icons.

At the moment, there is an exhibition by renown Chinese artist Gu Dexin featuring live pig hearts and brains in an installation that serves as a commentary on modern society. (the heart and brain as pillars of man kind?)


Another group show called Hyper food is showing at the Chamber of Fine Arts. It showcases art pieces from photography to installations on the theme of food. The young artists from the class of 2007 at CAFA Beijing explored food through visual forms to break academic boundaries and reinterpret classical ideas.

Although I didn’t find the invitation and poster too exciting, I think it might be worth the look and perhaps change my perspective of supermarket shopping.

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