"Good evening and welcome to Kitchen Stories Live, the first of an experimental artwork by artist Lisa Krigel in collaboration with experimental chef Simon Matthews, bringing together ceramics, food and audience participation.
Before we begin I just want to say a few works by way of explanation and to demonstrate exactly how each of us can interact with the artwork and taste some of the delicious food it contains.
The ceramics which we will be using this evening are artworks made by Lisa for which she won the Gold Medal at the Eisteddfod in 2016.
The ceramic forms themselves are inspired by Brutalist architecture of the 1950s-1970s exemplified by Le Corbusier’s 1952 Unité in France or Goldfinger’s 1972 Trellick Tower seen from the train as we arrive from Wales into West London.
Brutalist architecture was seen as a modern and forward-looking answer to the post-war housing shortage.
It was initially seen as being filled with utopian promise, offering communitarian forms of living
Offering a practical and functional alternative to the frivolous, over-decorative architecture of earlier periods.
And it is both the utopianism of its socialist ideology and the simplicity of form that appealed to Lisa,
The brutal in brutalism does not refer to dystopian and brutal living conditions that dominated in inner-city housing estates in the late 1970s and 1980s, but to the French word for raw.
The rawness of the concrete used without decoration or covering. .
For Reynor Banham, Brutalist architect and theorist, in order to be Brutalist, there must be three elements: 1) “the clear exhibition of structure” – this can be seen precisely in the building of Lisa’s ceramic forms and in their curation here at MOMA. The works are precisely structural, their functions are evident, clearly exhibited in their forms, without covering or unnecessary decoration.
2) “the [truth] value… of the materials – seen in Lisa’s use of clay and glaze in a way that does not hide exactly what these forms are made of. Lisa values her materials, she allows their essential material qualities to inform the structures, accentuating its innate beauty through simplicity of form.
3) And finally Banham identified “memorability as image” as being central to brutalism. Monumental architectural forms that had the ability to etch themselves upon the memories of those who has seen them. A quality that is central to Lisa’s structures that transform domestic crockery into grandiose monuments.
Finally, very obvious references to Brutalism in Lisa’s ceramics is fundamentally seen in the repeated modular elements, each with specific function – plates, cups, serving platters, that together form a whole.
Once created, Lisa’s ceramics demanded to be used, as opposed to merely looked at. Unless they could be used, they were redundant, functionless.
It was then that Lisa began to devise the idea for Kitchen Stories Live, to actually use her bowls, plates, and cups as intended, to feed and water people
She began to look for a chef who might be interested in developing a menu in fitting with her ceramic forms and heard by serendipity, through a mutual friend that Simon was looking for a ceramicist to work with. They met and found common interests in the social sharing of their individual art forms, their love of food and utopian aspirations.
Simon holds monthly supper clubs in Cardiff, entitled Herbivore for which he developes playful, poetic, surprising, occasionally misleading, 5-7 course meals.
Some of the ingredients are foraged, most locally sources and every ingredient is vegan, although you might not always believe it, hence the surprises and misleadings.
Lisa attended two supper clubs, then a third with me. I then went to another. Once tasted, you are hooked because, as you will soon discover, Simon’s food is absolutely delicious.
Tonight Simon has created a Black Menu, created in response to Lisa’s ceramic forms. Both form and food are mutually informing, each developing according to the needs of the other, palette, shape, texture as important as taste.
In order to taste for your selves and thereby activate this artwork, each Brutalist form contains the dishes and must be deconstructed to be eaten.
Remove the upper bowls containing food from the stacks of plates, then deconstruct each other stack to reveal the different dishes of food. Take them apart, serve yourselves and leave the dishes deconstructed.
Stacks of drinking vessels can also be deconstructed and used at the bar.
Then eat, drink and enjoy the role you are playing in Kitchen Stories Live.'