OBIC, by Anna lo Presti & Gianluca Marziani, is the brainchild of Anna Paola Lo Presti and is the title of a remarkable book in which the story of each work in the catalogue follows the birth of ancient foods, primary ingredients, traditional dishes and the innovations that have become a collective event and a community value. OBIC wants to be a vision of the present, a design platform that transcends the pages and becomes show, conference, television format, workshop.
OBIC tells about food in an unusual way, finding links that do not belong to the everyday rules. It narrates the visual art from an equally unique perspective, crossing the twentieth century in unexpected and unsettling directions. When taste and sight meet: a ‘dangerous’ but intense relationship that savours the vision and gazes into the flavour. The book reasons on visual art with connective and discordant stances, thus giving the reader the freedom of analysis that only the work permits. It also delves into food with the logic of associations, so that it brings up anthropological, historical and social connotations. A history of taste and, above all, values.
OBIC is about the aesthetic geographies that surround us, of forms that are not only surfaces, of colours that enfold experiences and intuitions. OBIC is about conscious recipes, created from an artistic inspiration that illuminates unexplored paths. A parabolic journey through artists that have inspired the culinary stops of the trail, as if they were visions of stars in a constellation that reinvents ties, silent dialogues, unusual quotes.
The artists, of course, do not directly refer to dishes and recipes, but they allude to concealed links, create metaphorical meanings and bear the burden of the symbols. They own the recipe of complex contents, of the theoretical line that leads far beyond the immediate references of the image, towards a map of the personal inventions around the work.
In OBIC, photography is a key visual step. The presentation of FOOD develops through COMPOSITION, STYLE, and LIGHT, which are elements related to the world of art and not to the kitchen. The dishes are not presented in the form of recipes, but as substance of their idea .The starting point of the project is to present the food with art as subject. The author’s challenge is to go beyond, to push the limits of food –precious material– further than previously done. The recipe is then a visual work that expresses new thoughts for artistic research, thus raising awareness through the contamination of art. The dishes are treated as visual works, not to be consumed.
The majority of the 50 artists (along with some foreign authors who have special connections with Italy) have an Italian background, necessary to tell a ‘dangerous’ relationship between food and visual art.
First point: our twenty regions boast a food heritage of excellence that amplifies the combinations of basic ingredients, so that the history of cooking is interwoven with the cultural background. Second point: Italians artists have often mixed food ingredients in their figurative code, combining the suggestions of experience in the symbolic synthesis of their work. Third point: visual art and food are the two most significant cornerstones of our traditions, confirming an italic luxury that has expressed its maturity between beauty and pleasure.
“Italian art and food have the strength to restore order. They can re-establish the rules, find lost ethical balance, boundless in all that is use and abuse of food. OBIC will be a moment to read the FOOD... a food to treat other pleasures and themes. Through its new perspective on food, it will restore that moment of encounter that is the table, and to find an identity. Italian food is a total experience; it is the attitude and the personality of the cook, the story of the ingredients, the powerful charm of place and style. ART is the way that can help regain the lost balance. Art is the reflection which enables to borrow silence, the thought of the artists, their research and their soul. Art is my centre, it is the mental space in which I live and it has provided the enticement to imagine OBIC. Also, I wanted to see if art could become a source of inspiration for the kitchen and a new way of eating. It was and it is in the moment when you can think through BEAUTY.”
Anna Paola Lo Presti
Welcome to the special place where art and food occupy the table of ideas in action. Welcome to the paper world in which the work and the dish involve the five senses and invite to the naked meal of the mind. Welcome in front of a mirror in which every food looks at itself, so different from yesterday and tomorrow. A way that makes us read the word FOOD, in Italian CIBO, the other way round, in order to uncover the hidden soul of the obvious. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the OBIC galaxy.