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Food in Art


MOCAK Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow
April 12,2024 - March 16,2025
Daniel Spoerri, Seville Cycle, no. 16, 1991, object, 80 × 160 × 40 cm, MOCAK Collection, photo: R. Sosin

April 12, 2024 March 16, 2025

Artists: Jonathan Baldock, Krzysztof M. Bednarski, Marcin Berdyszak, Alicja Biała, Małgorzata Blamowska, Jonathan Blaustein, Rafał Bujnowski, Jan Cybis, Josef Dabernig, Oskar Dawicki, Wojciech Doroszuk, Marian Drew, Nezaket Ekici & Shahar Marcus, Valie Export, Lucia Fainzilber, Itamar Gilboa, Władysław Hasior, Carsten Höller, Mella Jaarsma, Marek Janiak (Łódź Kaliska), Aleksander Janicki, Khaled Jarrar, Zhanna Kadyrova, Koji Kamoji, Marek Kijewski, Olga Kisseleva, Karolina Konopka, Jerzy Kosałka, Berenika Kowalska-Dybko, Paweł Kowalewski, Grzegorz Kozera, Alicja Kozłowska, Anna Królikiewicz, Jørgen Leth & Ole John, Andrew Leventis, Natalia LL, Sarah Lucas, Marcin Maciejowski, Shahar Marcus, Małgorzata Markiewicz, Gordon Matta-Clark, Marek Mazanowski, Artur Nacht-Samborski, Adi Nes, Jerzy Nowosielski, Elia Nurvista, Dominika Olszowy, Anna Ostoya, Włodzimierz Pawlak, Anna Przybyło, Michael Rakowitz, Martha Rosler, Rebecca Rütten, Jadwiga Sawicka, Carolee Schneemann, Yinka Shonibare, Justyna Smoleń, Wojciech Ireneusz Sobczyk, Daniel Spoerri, Eduardo Srur, Łukasz Stokłosa, Janina Turek, Andrzej Wasilewski, Erwin Wurm, Agata Zbylut.

Food in Art is the 11th exhibition in MOCAK’s flagship series Civilisation in Art, in which we confront important areas of life with the reflections of artists. We have previously looked at themes such as history, sport, economics, crime, gender, medicine, motherland, art, nature and politics. Food in this context has an exceptional position, since it is crucial to existence itself, which lends it significance in many areas of our lives.

Food is indispensable for satisfying one of the physiological needs at the very base of Maslow’s pyramid of the hierarchy of human needs – yet, in parallel – also a number of other of the higher order ones, psychological and social, such as a sense of social belonging or security. Vital for survival, food has shaped our civilisation. It has served as payment for labour; the process of its acquisition has powered the engine of progress. It was the search of food that triggered the migrations of peoples and thus led to the discovery of the world. Food scarcity has given rise to conflicts and contributed to social upheaval and bloodshed. To this day, food accompanies rituals and ceremonies and is the foundation of every community, culture and religion.

The exhibition will present the work of 66 artists from many different countries, exploring a variety of media such as painting, photography, video, object and installation. Taking part in a meal is a social activity, lays a basis for our identity and can serve as a tool of resistance. Contemporary artists take on board both the problems resulting from scarcity as well as those from an excess of food. The former can result in hunger and starvation, causing social inequality and individual indignity and leading to humanitarian crises and large-scale devastation; the latter manifest themselves in rampant or indeed debauched consumerism, accompanied by waste and the detrimental health effects of pursuing a poor-quality diet. Artists will analyse both the aesthetic potential of food, which art has explored for centuries as well as its ethical and philosophical dimensions.