Food in the Frame
Baker and art student Ruby Tandoh examines why artists have held an increasing fascination with food over the centuries, from still-life to political and highly conceptual works.
Not many art installations have to be sealed in containers and driven deep into the desert because they smell so bad - but when art and food collide the results are often powerful and surprising. Dating back as far as Egyptian tomb art and the Ancient Greek and Roman civilisations, the use of food as a subject has allowed artists to demonstrate their virtuosity as well as deliver religious, metaphysical and political commentary. Food historian Gillian Riley explains to baker and food writer Ruby Tandoh how paintings can offer invaluable clues about what was eaten and how it was eaten in numerous cultures. Ruby visits Tate Britain to look at key examples from the collection there with curator Alison Smith , and learns from 20th century expert Janine Catalano about the way the likes of the Futurists and Surrealists took food from the canvas and turned it into an agent of anxiety and modernity - with examples including the Futurist Cookbook and Dali's 'Autumn Cannibalism'. She finds out how the act of eating itself has more recently become an artistic pre-occupation, and speaks with contemporary artists Hayley Silverman and sonic investigator Caroline Hobkinson, who incorporates the power of noise to change our perception of flavour in her installation feasts.