Above the hustle and horror of New Street during the Christmas Market, ‘Flat8 Gallery’ is one of the most intimate spaces for art to thrive in the city. An ‘art apartment’ in the centre of the second city, ‘Flat8’ provides the most personal experience of art that one can hope to find. Once inside, the chill of the winter air is quickly forgotten as you are greeted with infectious warmth from the current artist-in-residence, Kaye Winwood, and the guests of her event, in eager anticipation for the night ahead.
The route to the lounge means that you must walk through the gorgeously collected and presented art that covers the walls, drawing your eyes to a series of outstanding contemporary works from a varied range of artists. Prints by Egon Schiele and Kathe Kollwitz share space with the less well-known work of Tristan Piggott, a sense of balance is evident. You are led out of the hallway and into candlelight, before being invited to sit and wait for the final guests to arrive.
The event itself consisted of nine delicately made courses, constructed on your hand and consumed to delicious effect. The art of the event is an extension of this process, the curation of a palpable atmosphere through the sumptuous tastes presented on your own body. The dishes created exist beyond the plate, they are separated from their assumed setting and placed somewhere alien, but not unnatural. ‘Hands on Sensuality’ provides a fascinating insight into culinary art world.
Some of the courses were explicit in their sexuality, with ‘Thumb Crack’ evoking the paintings of Georgia O’Keefe, whilst others explored the relationship between pain and pleasure, for instance through the burning chocolate onto the inner forearm. These creations are beautiful to look at, but they go beyond the visual, combining taste, texture and aroma to culminate in a sensation that escapes the boundaries of art and food.
This event is a feast for the senses, it is a performance that requires indulgence, a combination of the social, artistic and technical elements of food and its consumption. Kaye’s ability to bring people together through these carefully crafted morsels speaks to the power of her artform, and as such the event is a success because the guests are sharing this experience, providing fertile ground for fluid conversation. The essential nature of eating is a key feature of the evening, with the collision of ideas and techniques central to creating the art and a purely emotional experience for those involved.
The evening was exceptional, with the lack of sustenance made up for by a gorgeous tagine that was available once the event concluded, and guests were invited to stay a little longer to eat, drink, and let the night seamlessly come to a close.
‘Hands on Sensuality’ has finished, however Kaye Winwood holds events throughout the year.
Kaye Winwood is in residence at Flat8 Gallery for Winter 2018/19, the producer for Ikon Gallery’s ‘Looping the Loop’ programme on Ikon Slow Boat, and has been selected as a Feeney Fellow for 2018/19, amongst other prodigious positions.