Catherine Place seemed a suitable address for Catherine’s Cultural Wednesday to visit, tucked in the corner is the Delfina Foundation. It is here that Spanish heiress Delfina Entrecanales has brought a house to provide accommodation for eight artists. Once installed they produce work centred on a theme, culminating in an exhibition on the ground and basement floors of 29 and 31 Catherine Place.
The Politics of Food is the first of these themed exhibitions. Outside in a glazed courtyard is a collection of plastic bottles formed into graceful stalactites by Gayle Chong Kwan. These graced the underpasses of London’s Southbank Centre in the summer of 2012 and proved very popular with my children.
Zineb Sedira produces arresting images arising from the sugar industry. He went to the sugar silos of St Louis Sucre in Marseille, here he found great piles of sugar from Brazil, Mauritius, Cuba, Guyana and Réunion all cheek by jowl; the resulting pictures look more like a desert landscape than food stuff.
Found round the corner are two pieces of work with mixed results, for me. One has three TV screens, each showing a playlet in Japanese about the advisability of eating rice grown in the Fukushima region after the nuclear reactor meltdown. Three screens and, my inability to read more than one set of subtitles at any one time without being distracted by the dialogue from the neighbouring screen made this piece deeply impenetrable for me. Conversely next door was a papier mache pig with a tiny video screen behind him. It was showing a cartoon highlighting the mass slaughter of pigs in Haiti at the behest of the USA fearful that African Swine Flu might spread to America. With the pigs I had no difficultly being drawn in and came away aware of an issue that was previously unknown to me.
All in all, Politics of Food is worth a visit in your lunch hour or after having been to the nearby Queens Gallery but not worth a trip across town on its own. Good coffee can be found in the Buckingham Coffee Lounge on the corner of Catherine Place and Palace Street.
Politics of Food at the Delfina Foundation, 29-31 Catherine Place, London SW1.
20 January 2014 — 15 February 2014, Open Monday -Saturaday 11-6, free entry