Ferran Adrià: Notes on Creativity
Curators: Brett Littman and Valentijn Byvanck
Olive oil caviar, asparagus beer, Parmesan foam, the soup fragrance spoon: these are only a handful of examples of the revolutionary creations by the world-renowned and widely celebrated Ferran Adrià of the legendary restaurant El Bulli. The exhibition Ferran Adrià: Notes on Creativity is a homage to Adrià’s exploration of creativity and how this quest led to his revolutionary cuisine. It is filled with hundreds of colourful drawings and includes a film of the nearly two thousand dishes prepared by Adrià and his team in their more than twenty years at El Bulli. The epicentre of the exhibition was a specially designed hall of mirrors, with an infinite landscape of over one hundred floating, delectable objects: glass tumblers in every possible shape, metal ‘amuse’ dishes, spoons for smelling, plates of paper, slate and glass, Plasticine models indicating the size of a dish and cuttings showing how food should be cut.
Ferran Adrià: Notes on Creativity gave you a behind-the-scenes-view of Adrià’s search for ingredients and new ways to prepare and serve food. It was also a testament to how much thought he has always put into the history of cooking and taste. His method could be compared to the creative process of a scientist, designer or artist: exploratory, tireless, innovative and always surprising.
Accompanying the exhibition is the English publication Ferran Adrià: Notes on Creativity. Emphasizing the role of drawing in Adrià’s quest to understand creativity, the book features an interview between Ferran Adrià and Brett Littman, and also includes a reprint of the artist Richard Hamilton’s essay about the relationship of food to contemporary art.
Ferran Adrià (born 1962) is the world-famous head chef of the restaurant El Bulli in Roses, Spain which closed in 2011. In the late 1990s and the first decade of the 21st century, El Bulli was legendary. It was awarded three Michelin stars and was given the accolade ‘best restaurant in the world’ by Restaurant Magazine five times in a row. Adrià was a pioneer of molecular gastronomy and developed nearly 2,000 new dishes with his staff, along with a huge amount of new table and kitchen ware and cutting, mixing, freezing and mixing methods.
The taste of the food he served could not be predicted by the eye. The restaurant was only open six months a year. Adrià spent the rest of the year secluded in a lab in Barcelona devising new dishes. Guests were served up to thirty dishes a night and often enjoyed the culinary performance until well past midnight. El Bulli can rightly be regarded as the founder of modern experimental cuisine.
“Ferran Adrià’s quest for creativity is remarkable. His method connects haute cuisine, visual culture and scientific method: shaping taste is just as important as drawing diagrams and searching for the key to creativity” – Director Valentijn Byvanck
Adrià’s artistic attitude in the world of gastronomy brought him into contact with the art world from the beginning of his career. In 2007 he was invited by artistic director Roger Buergel to the prestigious art exhibition Dokumenta 12 in Kassel.
Since the closure of El Bulli, the Catalan chef has been engaged in research on creativity. With the assistance of a team of researchers, designers and professionals from numerous other disciplines, he is trying to map out the creative process. For this research, he continually draws on his rich past at El Bulli.
As part of the current exhibition, Marres hosted an extensive series of public events and educational programmes aimed at raising awareness about taste, cooking and creativity through taste labs, cookouts and workshops.
Fundraising dinner in honour of Ferran Adrià
Five top chefs – who hold 9 Michelin stars between them – prepared an exclusive dinner for Ferran Adrià and all the guests in attendance. The event took place in the Augustijnenkerk in Maastricht.
Cook out with 90 children
The children that took part in the event came from all parts of Maastricht. The aim of the event was to emphasize the importance of healthy food. Led by the chefs of Kids Kokkerelli the children prepared a special three- course menu. The master chef gave some lastminute tips and tasted the food.
In dialogue with Ferran Adrià
In Centre Céramique the Catalonian master chef gave a talk about his current practice and answered questions from the audience, which largely consisted of students and talented young chefs.
Documentary ‘El Bulli: Cooking in progress’ screened in Lumière
The style of top chef Ferran Adrià is avant-garde and experimental. This 2010 documentary follows the intense preparations for a new season in his restaurant El Bulli. Filmhuis Lumiere screened the movie on June 21.
Meet & Greet with chefs from Limburg
The taste of El Bulli in Maastricht
Ten chefs from Limburg showed visitors of the city of Maastricht their interpretation of a dish from the Catalan chef Ferran Adrià. During a meet & greet with Adrià they presented the publication The taste of El Bulli in Maastricht. This special publication is made by Maastricht Culinair, a partnership of renowned restaurants, local producers and suppliers.
Signing session in Bookstore Dominicanen
The living cult legend Ferran Adrià was a guest at Bookstore Dominicanen for a signing session.
Ferran Adrià: Notes on Creativity was originally curated by Brett Littman for The Drawing Center (New York). It has been specially adapted and expanded for the presentation at Marres, House for Contemporary Culture.
Dom Pérignon is the presenting partner of Ferran Adrià: Notes on Creativity. Additional support was provided by the Institut Ramon Llull, Acción Cultural Española (AC/E) and Lavazza.
Marres was supported by Connect Limburg, the VSBfonds, the BankGiro Lottery Fund and the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds.