When briefing graphic designer Matthew Walker on the aesthetics and intentions of the book, artist Kirsha Kaechele requested a casual ‘blend of illuminated manuscript, ancient maps, Ram Dam’s Be Here Now, Dali’s etchings, and Chanel.’ It also needed to be rainbow, and ‘hard-core minimalist.’
What has emerged from this intense minimalist and materialistic contradiction is a sprawling, rich and complex book that Kirsha describes as ‘the accommodation of a paradox!’ For the designer, it produced a considerable headache, and a sublime aesthetic outcome!
The concept behind Eat the Problem is to transform a flaw (invasive species) into a feature (art and delicious food) – underscored with Mona’s surrealism, gore and beauty. Kirsha (who, incidentally, is married to David Walsh, Mona’s infamous founder and owner) invited famous chefs to create a recipe that uses an invasive species, with the only parameters that it must be a monochrome dish. ‘Any invasive species you like, but it has to be all one colour’ she describes. Recipes from the likes of Shannon Bennett and Tetsuya Wakuda are accompanied by essays, artworks, scientific discussion and philosophical musings from Tim Minchin, James Turrell, Marina Abramović and Yves Klein. This is no road-kill stew situation!
The terrifying and unnervingly beautiful culinary creations are presented on custom made ceramics from Tasmanian couple Nana Bayer and Zsolf Faludi of Studio Zona (known as the ‘ceramics wizards’), with cutlery designed by Kirsha and Natalie Holtsbaum. Kirsha explains ‘the designs all draw on the geometries of nature – mitosis and reproductive signifiers – all distilled through minimalism.’
The dishes are provocative, but Kirsha assures us, also delicious. She explains that ‘a lot of the chefs wanted to work with sea urchin – a huge pest in Tasmania’s waters – because it is such a delicacy.’ Mona has a well-established history of challenging culinary experiences, where the food is ‘conceptual and, of course, it is art.’
If the combination of aesthetics, environment and gastronomy has whet your taste-buds, an accompanying multi-disciplinary installation of Eat the Problem will be exhibited at Mona next month.
Eat the Problem
13th April – 2nd September
Museum of Old and New Art