Felix Bröcker

The imaginary restaurant Visual presentation strategies in art and cuisine


Food is becoming increasingly important in our everyday lives. Political discussions are conducted on health, sustainability, consumer protection and styles of nutrition; simultaneously, food defines enjoyment-oriented leisure activities as evidenced by the variety of offering on the topic such as food weeks, food festivals, culinary fairs and new or revived market halls and farmers markets. In addition, magazines, TV shows and online media testify to the great interest in food and cooking. 

This social relevance is also reflected in the scientific and artistic focus on the topic. Artists and exhibitions comment on the trend and are themselves part of the phenomenon: In 2015, Art Basel engaged Rirkrit Tiravanija to serve Thai curry to visitors. For the Expo in Milan that same year, which went by the title Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life, Germano Celant curated the exhibition Arts + Foods: It addressed connections between cuisine, art and design.

While the use of food has established itself as part of artistic practice in Eat Art or in performative eating situations, an academic examination has not yet been conducted of the food served by cooks and artists or the complex significance of something located between art and everyday life. The focus of this doctoral project is to close this gap and grasp food as a creative medium with a logic of its own and situated between the twin poles of art and the everyday, cuisine and design. By judging food not just in terms of a purely culinary appraisal it becomes possible to discuss it on a creative and stylistic level. The visual dimension of food can then be comprehended as a medium of expression that can be analysed and placed within a historical context.

In addition, the overall conditions for how food is presented are analysed. This is complemented by gastronomic and art historical knowledge so as to understand special aspects of the serving situation. This applies in particular to the importance of the room and the eating situation, which through the interaction of the players involved resembles a performance.


Prof. Dr. Christian Janecke

Prof. Heiner Blum