When art becomes epicurean, voracious, pie-eyed with the pleasures of the palate—inventing dishes, desserts, pieces montées or banquet scenes—sinking its teeth into an examination of our relationship with food (guilty, sensual, problematic)—we have Céramiques gourmandes, an exhibition cooked up by the Fondation Bernardaud, featuring fourteen international artists with a taste for ceramic: the crème de la crème!
Fired clay and fine fare have long been companions. Gustatory pleasure has inspired artists in every era: what we eat says so much about humankind, its environment and its excesses. The feasts we see here are technical feats, to be savored visually, virtually. Like a mouthwatering promise. You can almost hear the “mmmm”s, “yum”s, and “more”s.
In the 18th century, during the vogue for naturalism, ceramicists played with trompe l’oeil. Fantasies in faience and porcelain, decorated plates or trick displays, were wildly popular through Europe—England, Hungary, Germany, and France. There were reproductions of radishes, artichoke quarters, and hard-boiled eggs, sometimes doused in mayonnaise. Kilns yielded compotiers full of olives and bouchées à la reine. There were terrines in the form of pheasants, ducks, roosters; plates disguised as hearts of lettuce or bunches of asparagus; bonbonnières as lemons. Bestiary and kitchen garden were called upon to decorate festal tables.
Delectation is always a question of taste. Gluttons are scourged; gourmets’ refinement encouraged. What we eat reveals what we are. And in our consumer societies, now grown obese, the question of food is at the heart of sanitary, political, and ecological issues.
Olivier Castaing, Exhibition curator
Hélène Huret, Director of the Fondation Bernardaud
Chris Antemann (USA)
Bachelot & Caron (France)
Anna Barlow (UK)
Charlotte Coquen (France)
Christina Erives (Mexico)
Jae Yong Kim (Korea)
Juujuu Kim (Korea)
Yuko Kuramatsu (Japan)
Kaori Kurihara (Japan)
Shayna Leib (USA)
Susan Nemeth (UK)
Marie Rancillac (France)
Dong Won Shin (Korea)
Jessica Stoller (USA)
Contact Presse Hélène Huret : hhuret(at)bernardaud.com