As part of the promotion of contemporary art within and outside of Brazil, the Fundação Bienal de São Paulo, in partnership and consonant with the proposals of the Serpentine Galleries in London, has invited artist and researcher Jorge Menna Barreto to develop a new version of his Restauro project in the UK.
Commissioned for the 32nd Bienal de São Paulo (2016, curated by Jochen Volz), Restauro took the form of a restaurant-work-of-art that involved exchanges with a network of agro-foresters and organic producers. The artist collaborated with curators and teams from the Fundação Bienal to ensure the operation of a restaurant capable of serving visitors to the Bienal; a total of more than 900,000 people throughout the three months of the event.
How does food journey to the consumer? What do we think about how food production impacts on the landscape and vice versa? Jorge Menna Barreto spent August 2017 in London in direct contact with local chefs and producers, exploring sustainable methods for agricultural land use in proximity to the city, whilst also mapping edible wild plants in local parks and gardens. The results will build up to an event on 30 September as part of the Serpentine’s Public Program, in which the Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), a plant that grows freely and spontaneously in Hyde Park, will play the leading role as ingredient.
“The British have a particular relationship with gardens, in addition to a unique perspective on Land Art”, notes the artist. “Nutrition draws our attention to the use of land and the environment in which we live.”
In parallel with this public presentation, the annual meeting of the International Advisory Board of the Fundação Bienal will take place in London at the beginning of October. During the same week, a special version of the Restauro project will also be presented to professionals from the local art scene.
“The Fundação Bienal is becoming increasingly known for its research and content. Based on its collection and its capacity to bring in diverse social agents, the work of the institution has grown to strengthen and promote contemporary art, transmitting experiences far beyond the event and the pavilion itself”, notes Justo Werlang, member of the board for the Fundação Bienal.
“The food we eat today is highly domesticated. Submission and good behaviour are in its molecules, which in turn feed our cells with obedience and processed information. Wild edibles, even though hardly noticed, grow abundantly and spontaneously around us, all the time! Their persistence and insistence are remarkable. No matter how controlled and well-trimmed a garden or a monoculture can be, they are there making a difference. This mostly unwanted vegetable presence is constantly doing its job to remind us about vital diversity, enrich the soil and feed all the species that depend on it. Human civilisation has replaced foraging for supermarketing and, with it, has lost its sense of place and belongingness.” - Jorge Menna Barreto
30 September 2017, from 2pm to 5pm, the Pavilion. Serpentine Galleries
2-3pm Go Wild, Eat Wild: All participants and the public are invited to feast on dandelion ice cream, made from a specially created recipe inspired by the wild edibles that grow in Hyde Park.
3-3.30pm Food In The Expanded Field: A discussion with those who proposed the event (drawing teacher, botanist and artist) about foraging, drawing, site-specificity and locavorism.
3.30-4pm Take a Walk on the Wild Side: A wild edible walk with Wild Food Forage.
4-5pm If You Haven't Drawn, You Haven't Seen: A short drawing workshop on wild edibles, in partnership with Gwen Burns and Jason Irving.