Project Space: Susannah Worth

How to Do Things with Salad

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New work by Susannah Worth that expands on her research into the language and form of the recipe, ranging from its ritual, instructional and performative capacities, which she outlined in her debut publication, Digesting Recipes: The Art of Culinary Notation (Zero Books, 2015). In this new commission she takes salad as her focus to ask what images of food ‘do’, to ask why we feel compelled to photograph our culinary performances, broadcast them, and offer them up for judgement.

A series of tablecloths designed by Worth document the results of a communal cooking event, Do Things with Salad, which she hosted at Open School East in November 2015. Here she provided the ingredients and recipes for a wide-range of salads, selected from various historical time-periods and for their cultural and visual significance. These were prepared, cooked and assembled collectively by the participants and the resulting photographic documentation was then collaged on custom printed tablecloths. A wall-mounted, over-sized ceramic plate, inscribed with the recipes’ ingredients and the names of those who prepared and photographed the salads, offers another vicarious experience of the food.

Working in the Project Space has allowed Worth to attend to the visual aspects of culinary culture, from the instructional or aspirational images that illustrate cookbooks and magazines to the millions of photographed meals posted on social media. The titular reference to JL Austin’s How to Do Things with Words suggests that salad, and images of salad, can construct a reality and perform an identity in a similar sense that words can.

An audio essay combines the sounds of labour and leisure, food preparation and consumption, analysis and anecdote, exploring some of the social, political, aesthetic, personal and historical significations of salad. These component parts are sometimes distinct ingredients, and sometimes combined in a cacophonous sonic salad.

Project Space provides exhibition and development opportunities to emerging artists offering a small grant to develop new experimental work for exhibition in the unique environment of Café 171 at Jerwood Space, adjacent to the galleries. Since 2004 it has presented new work from artists including Luke McCreadie, Alice May Williams, Paul Schneider, Rhys Coren, Anna Bunting-Branch, Emma Charles, Alec Kronacker, Meg Mosley, Sara Nunes Fernandes, Johann Arens, Matthew Johnstone, Katie Schwab and Jamie George, Ben Senior, Ralph Dorey, Mindy Lee, Patrick Coyle, Gemma Anderson, Annabel Tilley, Alice Browne, and Holly Antrum.

Installation View- Susannah Worth, How to Do Things with Salad, 2016. Image: Hydar Dewachi