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Food, art, and new gastronomy: a new exhibit at the Picasso Museum

Opening Friday, the 200-piece collection shows the diverse culinary world of the artist with the perspective of chef Ferran Adrià


23 May 2018 05:33 PM


ACN | Barcelona

If you love food, what you eat becomes much more than a necessity: cuisine becomes a part of not only who you are, but also what you do. Such is the case for acclaimed painter Pablo Picasso, a relationship retraced in the new exhibition ‘Picasso’s Kitchen.’

Picasso “ate the world”

The proposition runs from May 25 until September 30 at the Barcelona Picasso Museum. Named ‘La cuina de Picasso’ in Catalan, the name leaves the door open to interpretation between the physical space to cook, and the cultural cuisine the painter so loved. Picasso, in fact, was born in Malaga, but spent a significant amount of his life living and painting in Catalonia. 

  • "It’s above all about this relationship between cuisine—especially at an artistic level—and the world of art"

    Ferran Adrià · Catalan chef in exhibit

Indeed, according to curator of the collection and director of the museum Emmanuel Guigon, “when Picasso painted, he ate the world,” adding that, for the artist, the very act of creating became a metaphor for food. But there’s also a much simpler reason behind the exhibit’s raison d’être: Picasso loved Catalan cuisine. This, according to Guigon, was important to him “until the end of his life.”

Poems and recipes

The culinary world of the painter is retraced with 200 pieces, starting with two paintings from the end of the 19th century up until 1949. Here, visitors can see lovingly recreated items of food, kitchens, open air eating spaces, and more. This includes the iconic 1941 masterpiece 'Young Boy with Lobster.'

There are even more personal details about the gastronomy of the artist on display. The artist’s gastronomic universe is retraced through the restaurants he ate at, as well as the utensils and ingredients featuring many of his still lives, showing what they meant for his creative process. There are even fragments of poems and plays with annotations of recipes on them, including details of what ingredients smelled and tasted like.

The relationship between cuisine and the world of art

No commentary on the importance of Catalan gastronomy would be complete without one of the foremost chefs in the field: Ferran Adrià. The multiple-time winner of the Best Restaurant in the world recognition (for his establishment ElBulli) is to be part of the exhibit to discuss the similarities between Picasso’s genius and contemporary culinary creation.

Adrià also set out to answer a seemingly simple question: what is food? However, Adrià explained to the Catalan News Agency (ACN) that he realized “how complex this answer is,” adding that it focuses on the “relationship between cuisine—especially at an artistic level—and the world of art.” What’s more, the process led Ardià to ask himself something else, as he told ACN: why did the community of artists that so frequently spent time in the city’s restaurants never turn to food as a creative outlet? The answer he came to, he divulged, was that creative cooking “simply didn’t exist” then. 


  • Picasso's painting 'Young Boy with Lobster' at the Picasso Museum on 23 May 2018 (by Guillem Roset)

  • Picasso's painting 'Young Boy with Lobster' at the Picasso Museum on 23 May 2018 (by Guillem Roset)