The Broel museum in conjunction with ING Kortrijk is starting the New Year with something out of the ordinary - an exhibition based on the theme of eating and food: a highly-symbolic theme that is open to wide interpretation and which has been portrayed by artists throughout the ages creatively and with gusto.
Alongside 20 traditional paintings from the museum's Fine Arts collection, visitors can also enjoy a further 90 works by Belgian and international artists on the subject of 'eating and food'. The OFF programme serves up a menu of the chemical aspects of cooking, cinema, the artist as cook and guided walks for foodies.
The promotional image used for De Gustibus… is a mix of the painting ‘Expectation ' by 19th century animal-painter Joos-Vincent Devos, a native of the Belgian city of Kortijk, and ‘The Chicken’ (2004) by Thorsten Baensch and Christine Dupuis, two young artists living in Brussels. The image combines tradition and modernity, old and new, illusion and reality, indicating the continuity and universal nature of the theme.
More than one way to crack an egg
Because the subject-matter can be approached in so many ways, the curators Veerle Van Durme, Lieven Van Den Abeele and Anne Petre stipulated a number of themes. All of the selected works therefore deal with one or more of the following topics: taste and connoisseurship, the social function of meeting for a meal, the ritual of sitting at table, moderation and gluttony, the beauty and transience of food, consuming and digesting food, its erotic connotations and its economic value.
Most of the works do not fall into a single category, but overlap several topics.
Twenty still lifes have been selected from the collection of paintings at the Broel museum. The still lifes from the 16th and the 20th centuries dominate, because they deal with a number of ideas associated with 'eating and food'. Still lifes are highly charged with symbolism, reflecting the futility and vanity of earthly pleasures as well as the tongue-tingling pleasure to be had in them. By portraying the beauty of the food itself, artists are demonstrating their talent. But on the other hand, the beauty of the food is of short duration and its decay and transience inevitable. In other words, a still life incorporates the concept of memento mori, i.e. the fleetingness of the material world and the fact that we are born to die.
The topic of 'eating' remains a central theme for today's artists, its importance being reflected across the entire range of artistic disciplines. Some artists see ‘eating’ as ‘food for the mind’, while others see it as a way of approaching the social and communicative aspects of art. De Gustibus... provides a surprising and fascinating insight into the way in which modern artists experience this topic and give it form.
A selection from what is on offer: the ‘tableaux-pièges’ by Daniel Spoerri follow in the footsteps of still life and reflect perfectly the fleeting nature of pleasure. With his ‘Eat Art’ - a selection of edible creations by fellow artists - Spoerri highlights the act of sharing food and the creative element inherent in 'eating'. This same topic can be found in the edible sculptures by Dorothée Selz.
For Christine Dupuis and Thorsten Baensch, their mobile cooking is a way of coming into contact and communicating with like-minded people. The video by Hans Op De Beeck shows, however, that eating together does not always promote communication. On the other hand, the video by twin sisters Liesbeth and Angelique Raeven deals with the subject of fasting and abstinence from food. Decadence and excess is portrayed in the caviar paintings by Georg Herold and in the sculpture by Thierry De Cordier.
The installations by Wolfgang Laib confront the viewer with the ritualistic aspect and the spiritual power of food.
Patrick Van Caeckenbergh dares to link food with architecture. Joseph Beuys treats food predominantly as an economic commodity. The tattooed pigs in the live artworks by Wim Delvoye fall into the same category.
De Gustibus… shows the works of the following artists:
Thierry De Cordier
Peter De Cupere
Thorsten Baensch & Christine Dupuis
Hans Op de Beeck
Patrick Van Caeckenbergh
Works from the following artists have been selected from the Fine Arts collection held by the Broel museum:
Louise De Hem
Félix De Vigne
Joos Vincent De Vos
Hendrik Martensz. Sorgh (Rokes)
Jozef Benoit Suvée
Jacob Van Es Foppens