The feast to which Lucia Leuci invites us is an estranging one. In the dining room at the Fondazione Pini it is not the table set up but the glass cabinets, spaces committed to showcasing the courses and conceived to create visual connections between different environments such as the entryway, the dining room itself and the main hall.
We immediately question the nature of the dishes, whether they’re edible or not, if this is about a successful experiment in molecular gastronomy disguised as art, if the insects gracefully resting upon the dishes are familiarly flavoured good to eat sculptures or, more daringly, the meeting point with cooking traditions coming from the far east. And to the same east our thoughts fly, to those sanpuru crowding the windows of Japanese restaurants, perfect doubles of what you can have once inside.
Leuci, thanks to a wise use of the oxidised metal element framing the real exhibition space – an elegant set of porcelain plates – suggests to us that the material they are hosting is about to change, is already changing, in front of our eyes while we watch them.
It’s then that we realise that evoking Oldenburg’s Pastry Case is not enough and that we should perhaps recall Dieter Roth and his Pocket Room series. The process of the decay of the organic material, progressively unveiling the dichotomy between nature and the sweetened representation of it, is probably closer to the frailness of those fragments crowding Villar Rojas’ artworks, where organic and inorganic blend together, giving life to mutated and mutating hybrids, exposed to the passing of time. Leuci is as ruthless in displaying her own take on still nature as in mixing the elements, first class raw materials and resins which seem indistinguishable at first glance and to which time only will give back that perceivable authenticity, unavoidably resulting unbearable to the eyes of food-porn lovers.
Ramona Ponzini is an exhibition manager based in Turin. She studied languages and cultures of Asia and Africa in Turin and Tokyo and she is running the art project Treti Galaxie along with Matteo Mottin and Sandro Mori. She is also expert in auction purchase and art advisor in the field of art wealth management.
Lucia Leuci: Materia prima runs from May 19th 2017 to July 14th 2017 at the Adolfo Pini Foundation, Milan.
Featured image: Tramonto lagunare (acqua salmastra) (2017) (detail), Lucia Leuci. Photo credit: Laura Fantacuzzi, Courtesy Fondazione Adolfo Pini, Milan.