THE EDIBLE LIBRARY OF BRUSSELS – Bárbara Prada

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The Edible Library of Brussels is an immersive installation, a labyrinth of shelves collecting intimate memories related to food.

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THE EDIBLE LIBRARY OF BRUSSELS – Bárbara Prada

Free entrance

25.03 > 06.05.21 - Tuesday > Saturday - 12:00 > 19:00

Ravensteingallery 46 - 1000 Brussels

Co-Presentation: Centrale for contemporary art - BXL UNIVERSEL II : MULTIPLI.CITY

For Bárbara Prada, food provides not only nutritional substance. It is also a powerful tool for exploring individual and collective identities, cultural interactions, and politics. This credo forms the starting point of her research, that she translates into multi-sensory installations and performative rituals. In doing so, she relies on vernacular knowledge and participatory strategies. Her interests include forgotten recipes and techniques of growing and conserving food; the historical evolution of gastronomy; and the – often symbolic – depiction of food in visual arts and literature.

Her work reflects on historical as well as contemporary (transport and handling) trajectories of specific products, which are inevitably interwoven with the history of colonisation and capitalism. But the core of her practice lies in collecting intimate memories related to food and the rituals surrounding it, which often gain an almost lyrical quality. The food we consume and the experiences that go with it make us who we are. Literally, because food nourishes the cells of our bodies. And metaphorically, since the experience of food shapes almost every aspect of our social lives.

The Edible Library is Bárbara Prada's latest research project. It is the result of a two-month residency in Brussels and it will culminate in an immersive installation. In a labyrinth of shelves, the artist brings together a selection of local objects and stories related to food, contributed by local producers, bars, restaurants, inhabitants and artists. The installation includes organic ingredients, family recipes, cooking tools, poems, and cookbooks, thus functioning like a map of the 'collective mind'. It traces the evolution of gastronomy in Brussels before and after the arrival of immigrants, who brought along new ingredients and recipes. In doing so, they enriched the local cuisine.

As a vessel of shared knowledge, the library is never complete. Visitors are invited to write down their own memories, using squid ink on rice paper. They can then choose to either contribute their memories and recipes to the library, expanding its collection, or to offer them to boiling water. These memories and recipes will vanish – only to be reborn again. - Alicja Melzacka

A Moussem production supported by: VGC, Koning Boudewijnstichting & Brussels-Capital Region


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