As Expo Milan 2015 turns into the final straight, its high time to break a lance in favour of the one pavilion not out at the ad hoc Expo site but in the heart of the city. It’s the one tracking the fascinating relationship between food, Expo 2015’s overriding theme, and art. And, all being as it should be, the matter was entrusted to our old friend the Triennale, with Germano Celant curating and Italo Rota’s studio taking care of display design.
Arts & Foods – Rituals since 1851, needless to say, is much more than an exhibition showing food in art. Multi-disciplinary, multimedia and multi-sensorial, indoors and out, it traces the interactions between aesthetics and the whole sphere of food, the conventions of eating in private and in public. It covers the whole wide world and spans a period starting with the year of the first Expo, 1851 in London, and ending, well, with this one.
Still, that doesn’t give any idea of the breadth and magnetism of Arts & Foods. There are over a thousand exhibits in 15 spaces, and they range from giant food sculptures and paintings to video and music installations, from product and packaging design to reconstructions of whole food-related spaces, from fabrics to food photography and from literature to advertising. And among the originators of much of what you see are some of the most illustrious names in art, design and architecture of the last 165 years: De Chirico and Braque, for example, Picasso and Morandi, Casorati and Andy Warhol… Campbell’s soup, anyone?