If humans are what they eat, it is not so much or only because the substances they gradually incorporate constitute their physical materiality, but also because, from a cultural point of view, the food they prepare and ingest represents them, signifies them, and contributes to their individual and collective identity. Enhancing this signifying function of food, photography is a perfect tool for analyzing and understanding entire civilizations, men and women, society, the environment, and many other subject.
This book, which accompanies the fifth edition of the Biennale Foto/Industria, organized by the Fondazione MAST and entirely dedicated to the theme of the food industry, is intended to trigger a series of reflections on the complexity of the food issue. It does that by starting with a dual form: half photography book, half cookbook. Through the work of the 11 artists exhibited in the Biennale, which comes from different parts of the world and spans an entire century up to the present day, this book begins a visual and textual conversation about and exploration of the vast subject of food. Each of the 11 bodies of work culminates with a recipe designed by writer and chef Tommaso Melilli to form a single meal.
Food is a hybrid book. It can be placed next to the pantry or on the bookshelf in the study. It can be used to put together a special dinner for guests, but also to explore, starting with the images, the past and present of a subject that concerns us every day of our lives. As if in a sampling project, each work presented here is a case study. We don’t just eat with our mouth and stomach; we also eat with our brain and all our senses. This is a book to be eaten with the eyes.