Fernando Laposse: Totomoxtle table veneer made from heirloom Mexican corn husks, from Food: Bigger than the Plate at the V&A

SymmetryBreakfast images by Michael Zee, from Food: Bigger than the Plate at the V&A

Supernatural by Uli Westphal, 2019, commissioned by the V&A for Food: Bigger than the Plate

World War II public information poster by Abram Games, from Food: Bigger than the Plate at the V&A © Estate of Abram Games

Selfmade installation by Open Cell from Food: Bigger than the Plate at the V&A, featuring cheeses made using bacteria samples taken from the skin of celebrity donors

Bovril advertising poster by Henry Caffyn, 1905, from Food: Bigger than the Plate at the V&A

Urban Mushroom Farm installation by GroCycle from Food: Bigger than the Plate at the V&A. The mushrooms are grown in compost enriched with waste coffee grains from the V&A Benugo Café, and will be harvested for use in selected dishes

Planetary Community Chicken installation by Koen Vanmechelen from Food: Bigger than the Plate at the V&A. The project aims to strengthen the gene pool of farmed poultry

Merdacotta ceramic toilet made from surplus cow manure, Giantonio Locatelli et al © Henrik Blomqvist, from Food: Bigger than the Plate at the V&A

This new exhibition at the V&A’s Gallery 39 and North Court explores how innovative individuals, communities and organisations are radically reinventing how we grow, distribute and experience food. Taking visitors on a sensory journey through the food cycle, from compost to table, it poses questions about how the collective choices we make can lead to a more sustainable, just and delicious food future in unexpected and playful ways.

Food: Bigger than the Plate falls at a pivotal time where food and our relationship to it are topics of increasing global interest and debate. It features over 70 contemporary projects, new commissions and creative collaborations by artists and designers who are working with chefs, farmers, scientists and local communities. Taking a fresh, experimental and often provocative perspective, these projects present alternative food futures, from gastronomic experiments to creative interventions in farming, with several exhibits physically growing in the gallery space. They sit alongside 30 objects from the V&A collections – including influential early food adverts, illustrations and ceramics – providing historical context to the contemporary exhibits.

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The exhibition draws on the V&A’s close links with food. Built on the site of Brompton Nursery, the V&A housed an early food museum, and opened the world’s first purpose-built museum refreshment rooms over 150 years ago. The V&A Café, catered by Benugo, remains central to the museum, linking food culture and the visual arts.

Food: Bigger than the Plate is co-curated for the V&A by Catherine Flood and May Rosenthal Sloan, who also edited the accompanying book. It is supported by a series of events, courses and creative workshops.

Food: Bigger than the Plate
Sponsored by BaxterStorey
18 May to 20 October 2019