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Spoerri in Budapest: eat, art, food, thought

The art of cooking and presenting food has been an age-long topic for conversation and scientific study. However, using food as art was a pretty new development when Daniel Spoerri came up with the idea for the Eat Art Gallery in the 1970s. Indeed, the 81-year old Swiss’s pictures of dinners past are easily interpreted as an attraction to art being consumable by showing something that we all consume: food.

He also became well-known for his banquets, the sometimes disturbing, sometimes funny portrayals of the way our societies function and the patterns they take. In 1970, he held a dinner where each dish took on the shape of a human body part. In a 1974 banquet, participants had to roll a dice. If they were unlucky, they got a slice of bread with lard on top, while the lucky ones got the most expensive caviar.

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These and other Eat Art banquets were “quoted’ at the banquet held in honor of Daniel Spoerri during his recent visit to Budapest. A hand-shaped cracker, a coffin-shaped cake at the end of the meal, a trio of beef (a slice of tongue, stomach and hindquarters) to show the progression of food through the digestion.

The dishes compiled by the chefs of Laci!Konyha!, a newly opened haute cuisine restaurant in the 13th district of Budapest were meant to make you think, remember his art, surprise your palate and feed you, all in one. And if they could do this, this kitchen is worth a dinner even on mundane weekday nights when Spoerri is not visiting.