The Fragile Feast
Hannah Collins at the Wall Gallery of Deutsche Bank New York
Ferran Adrià’s molecular cooking transforms food into dishes that are both original and spectacular. In a creative collaboration with the star cook, the art photographer Hannah Collins has embarked on a research expedition around the world. Collins documents the source of Adrià’s ingredients, but also their transformation into “haute cuisine.” Now, Collins’s fascinating photographs are on view at Deutsche Bank’s Wall Gallery in New York.
||For many years, the hub of innovative cuisine was located neither in Paris nor in New York, but north of Barcelona—in Roses, a small town on the Catalonian coast. This was the home of the legendary restaurant elBulli, workplace of Ferran Adrià, whom Le Monde and the New York Times voted as the world’s best cook and whom Roger M. Buergel invited to take part in documenta, which presented the world’s premiere chef as an artist. Although the restaurant has been closed since last summer, Hannah Collins’s photo project The Fragile Feast records the ways in which revolutionary molecular cooking has played a key role in Adrià’s success—the often extraordinary products the cook includes in his elaborate, nearly alchemical procedures. Now, Collins presents the results of her artistic research in Deutsche Bank’s Wall Gallery in New York.
Sea anemones, rose leaves, kudzu—Adrià’s recipes owe part of their special attraction to unusual ingredients like these. Collins, who has known the cook for years, traveled to the places 30 selected ingredients in his recipes come from—to research where they are grown, gathered, or hunted. Thus, The Fragile Feast shows how roses are cultivated and picked in Equador, only to become an ingredient in an extravagant composition of oysters, rabbit, and sea anemone in elBulli. For over a year, Collins took photographs in Europe, Latin America, and Japan. She was interested in more than pure documentation, however. Her images are both poetic landscape studies and still lifes that bring out the sensual quality of the ingredients portrayed. But The Fragile Feast is also an homage to the people who cultivate and process them, often using methods based on old traditions. Collins’s pictures not only celebrate a sophisticated culinary culture, but also a conscious way of dealing with natural cycles and their products. The photographs are accompanied by texts explaining these working processes and maps of the regions the ingredients come from. They show the nearly global network of the "culinary connections" Adrià amassed in order to realize his ambitious recipes.
The Fragile Feast – Photographs by Hannah Collins
February 14 – May 31, 2012
Deutsche Bank 60 Wall Gallery
Hannah Collins, The Fragile Feast, Hatje Cantz