Food: Bigger Than The Plate | V&A


Coming soon to the V&A London this Spring is the greatly anticipated V&A Food: Bigger Than The Plate exhibition, which will explore the journey from compost to plate as well as the food cycle and asking important questions on how our choices can lead to a more sustainable and delicious future.

Covering four main sections; compost, farming, trading and eating the exhibition will be featuring over 70 contemporary projects, commissions and collective collaborations by artists and designers working with chefs, farmers, scientists and local communities to highlight the important topics at hand.

Food: Bigger Than The Plate | V&A

C O M P O S T 

This diverse project has the aim to create a more resilient food system by closing the nutrient loop and changing perceptions of waste. Daily Dump for example have pioneered a system for home composting in India using handmade terracotta pots to handle waste, an example of these unique pots are imaged above.

Food: Bigger Than The Plate - V&A - Humphrey Munson Blog

The unusual installation pictured above is GroCycle’s urban mushroom farm which will be installed in the galley and will illustrate the idea of using waste coffee grounds – including grounds from the V&A’s very own Benugo Café – to grow edible Oyster mushrooms which once fully grown are harvested and served in dishes at the Cafe for guests to enjoy.


The goal in this section is to reinvent relationships with the landscape, organisms and looking at open-source and social farming projects. New technologies that could change the way plants and animals are grown and farmed, including a Bicitractor developed by Farming Soul to support small scale farms, a working version of MIT’s Food Computer which is an open source controlled environment platform which replicates natural conditions to grow crops in unexpected places.

One thing we are looking forward to is artists Fallen Fruit’s new commission. They will be creating a 12-metre squared wallpaper for the museum, the design will reflect the fact that the site on which the V&A now calls its home is a place of horticultural history as it was once a nursery for fruit trees.

Food: Bigger Than The Plate - V&A - Humphrey Munson Blog


Buying, selling and transportation of food will be highlighted in this section of the exhibition. Early food adverts will be shown to visitors to shine a light on trading history and contemporary exhibits which will bring together projects that make supply chains visible and reconnecting consumers and producers. Company Drinks for example, is a community enterprise in east London that brings people together to pick, process and produce drinks and they will be serving samples to exhibition visitors.

Food: Bigger Than The Plate - V&A - Humphrey Munson Blog

E A T I N G 

Explore the pleasure of cooking, eating and how meals connect people culturally, socially and politically through projects by Ferran Adrià, Michael Rakowitz, Lubaina Himid among many others. Roles of the table, challenges to feed the world, power of deliciousness as well as scientific projects, ingredients and recipes which push boundaries in cooking with Symmetrybreakfast as one of the inspiring examples of this.

Anther amazing example of this part of the exhibition is Carolien Niebling’s ‘The Sausage of the Future’, pictured above. FOOD will also display three ‘selfmade’ cheeses grown from three well-known individuals for the exhibition which the V&A will be calling on the public to nominate via Instagram before the event takes place.

"Alas! My poor Brother", poster by W.H. Caffyn advertising Bovril. Great Britain, 1905.

The exhibition will also highlight the V&A’s own close links to food, including a collection of 30 historic objects from influential early food adverts (like the Bovril advert pictured above) to illustrations and ceramics providing extension to the exhibition.

Catherine Flood and May Rosenthal Sloan, co-curators of FOOD: Bigger than the Plate at the V&A, said: “Food is one of the most powerful tools through which we shape the world we live in, from how we create society, culture and pleasure to how we determine our relationship with the natural world. In an era of major ecological challenges, fast-changing societies and technological re-invention, now is a crucial moment to ask not just what will we be eating tomorrow, but what kind of food future do we want? What could it look like? And taste like? Today, a wide range of inspiring creative practitioners are addressing these expansive questions. Putting food at the heart of the museum, this exhibition is an exciting opportunity to bring together some of the best of this work to explore food as rich ground for citizenship, subversion and celebration.”

The image above is of the revolutionary edible water bottle created by Skipping Rocks Lab which could potentially help to deal with plastic waste.

Food: Bigger Than The Plate, will run from 18th May – 20th October 2019.

Sponsored by BaxterStorey, the exhibition has been co-curated for the V&A by Catherine Flood and May Rosenthal Sloan.

Advance tickets are £17 and can be purchased via the V&A website here.

Images provided by: FOOD: Bigger than the Plate, 18 May – 20 October 2019. Sponsored by BaxterStorey – “Alas! My poor Brother”, poster advertising Bovril, 1905 © Henry Caffyn/Image courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London – “Use Spades Not Ships. Grow Your Own Food and Supply Your Own Cookhouse”, poster, Great Britain 1941-45 © Estate of Abram Games – Ooho! – Skipping Rocks Lab – © Michael Zee, SymmetryBreakfast – © honey & bunny (Sonja Stummerer & Martin Hablesreiter) / Daisuke Akita – Daily Dump Compost at Home – India – Urban Mushroom Farm © GroCycle

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