IL PRANZO DELLA DOMENICA
@Kitchen Takeover _ Open Space Contemporary
From our confinement in the countryside of Rome, we re-enact the conditions of a festive Sunday lunch, transforming a big wooden table into a surreal stage-set. We populate it with extravagant objects, ingredients, dishes, and memories. Everyone is invited. We perform at the table and this happens as a natural act: the Sunday lunch in Italy is by definition an ordinary yet exceptionally theatrical performance.
Sunday lunch is not a simple meal, it is a marathon. Therefore our project starts at the first light of dawn, when the kitchen begins to speak, to come alive, while all the members of the family sleep, in a triumph of smells and flavours, starting to prepare the sauce with which to season the pasta.
“A pig with a rosemary forest in the belly” - Carlo Emilio Gadda The hostess holds in her arms a roasted pig, “porchetta” - a dish traditionally eaten on special occasions, feasts and gatherings. Carrying its weight like a sacrificial animal, her parade starts from the kitchen until it reaches the table. The pork belly was filled with sage, pepper, salt and rosemary and cooked for over 6 hours. The scent lingers throughout the house, leaving behind a delicious aroma. We are all slowly waking up, with high hopes and expectations for this ‘first’ Sunday lunch together.
A sense of fear remains, you can smell it whilst preparing this delicious dish. After months of greed, feasting on negative news, frightening articles, and headlines from all over the world, we are still scared. Surely, the guests will blissfully jump on this porchetta. Yet, we can’t forget, we have been consumed by what we have witnessed: this moment of celebration is hiding a bitter aftertaste.
The verb "porchettare" means to stuff the meat with aromas and spices, whilst continuing to massage it, until achieving a harmonious blend. Similarly, hands, pieces of meat and cutlery intertwine into a visual feast of expressive trajectories and evocative gestures.
Food is not only an allegorical connector amongst the guests during this Sunday lunch. The porchetta, thanks to its copious length, becomes a physical place of encounter: via cutting, grabbing, sharing - hands can finally meet at the centre of the table, fulfilling the mutual lust for togetherness.
These hours spent in the countryside have left visible marks on the table, appearing now as a kind of violent and passionate battlefield. Generous meals in Italy are often associated with cheerful warfare, where even angels have to surrender to sins of gluttony. The culinary match has just ended.
Directed and curated by
Rita Elvira Adamo
Filippo Bonza Brachetti