Food on the art menu

You won’t see any paintings at the exhibition by the first International MFA graduates in Trondheim. But the exhibit offers a lot else, including food and healing.

Eight Master’s degree students at NTNU’s Trondheim Academy of Fine Art have taken over Gråmølna, the museum built to house Inger Sitter’s and Håkon Bleken’s art bequest to the municipality of Trondheim. The students have filled the first floor with a wide range of art forms and expression.

Painting is not one of them in this year’s exhibit, but film, performance, installations and healing are.

Culinary experiences

Food also happens to be a key element in the exhibition. Students have scheduled certain days to offer a taste experience as part of the art experience. The idea is to integrate food that was created during the work on the show into the show itself.

During the process, students cooked together and shared meals, and had many discussions related to art as they prepared their meals and ate. They have carried this dimension into the exhibit by integrating visitors into the food experience.

Professor David Rych, who is responsible for the MFA program at NTNU, writes in the exhibition catalogue that the preparation of food during the exhibition is both a gesture and a cultural comment. Food has always been a direct way to enter into different cultures.

Healing Experiences

Students invite the audience to be actively involved in the exhibition and the process around it in several ways. They have created a mini library of books that have been important in their work on their master’s theses. Exhibit visitors are free to sit and browse through them. They can sit down around the table that the students have built. And a closer look at the objects on display under the glass tabletop reveals the food theme again, in the form of dried fruit and vegetables.

One of the exhibitors, Amalia Marie Fonfara from Denmark, invites the public to a healing session and to share their experiences afterward. Conversations are recorded, and visitors can listen to the collection of experiences as they are documented. On some days she will also offer group healing.

See hours, program and performance timetable here

The meaning of the show

“I would say that this is a living and social exhibition,” Rych says.

“I see a trend in how master’s theses are shifting from being atelier-based, where art objects are created in a studio, to revolving more around artistic research projects. The work this year reflects an exploration of the world that surrounds us, and is less about introspection or exploration of the self,” he says, adding that several of the works have links to phenomenology.

Phenomenology can be described as the study of consciousness – and the development towards absolute self-understanding and consciousness. Phenomenology is also referred to as a descriptive “science of being,” meaning that it can cut to the very essence or significance of things.