Artsy Travels 2018: London Artist Emma Witter Creates The Ultimate Art and Food Experience.

The Must-Go Event in London this Month

If you’re in London or planning a visit this March, I’ve got a very special prescription for your entertainment-craving traveler’s senses.

A must-do for art lovers and foodies alike. A treat for both your eyes and palate.

An artistic and culinary fusion with an innovative take on recycling.

Curious? Follow me.

Let’s take a walk in Shoreditch, London’s trendy East End. Nestled on the charming Rivington St. is Tramshed, one of entrepreneur and chef Mark Hix’s concept restaurants, also home to the Hix Art Gallery.

The 1000 sq. ft. former electric station has been re-designed to delight your senses through creative fine dining, impressive art installations and themed food experiences.

Emma Witter working at Hix Art Gallery

Tramshed restaurant in London

When Art meets Food

Hix used to mingle with the YBAs and became one hungry collector of their work, on display across his restaurants.

At Tramshed, Damien Hirst’s famous Cock ‘n’ Bull towers above the tables at the center of the space.

Hix Art Gallery is located in the restaurant’s basement and reflects Hix’s commitment to provide a launch pad to young innovative artists like Emma Witter.

With her beautifully bizarre style, Witter is a Londoner to the bone. A Central Saint Martin’s graduate and former member of the food artist duo Beast and Burden, she is the first artist chosen for the Gallery’s 2018 artist residency program. And here’s why.

Witter’s multidisciplinary art practice is rooted in challenging mainstream standards of beauty. Her production moves across sculpture, set design and photography,  and explores the aesthetic qualities of organic materials and processes.

Her favorites ones are bonesThe come from various animals – including chicken, turkey and pork – and she often saves them from her own food.

Afterwards, she meticulously cleans and categorizes the collected bones, while trying to figure out how art can truly operate sustainably.

Animal bones collection
Witter’s tool box

The results are exquisite! Ethereal, delicate, refined floral and coral-like formations that stand at the verge of sculpture and design.

Witter uses a medium that definitely engages in the discourse about the potential role of visual art in the politics of food.

Bone Sculpture by Emma Witter
Emma Witter, Flora |, 2018, bones,earthenware,glass,35x23cm
Artist Emma Witter bone sculpture
Emma Witter, bone sculture, details

 

An Unconventional Creative Process

Since January, Witter has taken over Hix Art Gallery. She recycles the restaurant’s meat waste by turning it into her signature artistic medium.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for me because the location is so conducive to my productivity,” Witter tells me in a casual email conversation about the project

“Being a meat restaurant, I have bountiful amounts of bones available from the kitchen, and I’m fortunate enough to have the use of Mark’s separate kitchen library to prep them. In the evenings I boil and scrub all the bones clean, and leave them overnight in bleach. Then in the day, I’m working down in the gallery creating the sculptures with him. As the menu changes slightly, I’m receiving different bones, which is a lovely natural guideline to works I’m then making. Like receiving different ingredients,” she says.

As she completes the sculptures, they get installed at the restaurant’s bar for customers to have a taste of the final showcase.

So you can already have a small preview, while enjoying a meat feast in one of the top restaurants in London.

British artist working in her studio
Witter working on new pieces for “Bloom”
Bone sculptures by artist Emma Witter
Witter’s bone sculptures in the making
Artist working in her studio
Emma Witter working on “Bloom” at Hix Gallery

 

The Show

Bloom will launch on March 27th and will present  Witter’s new collection, created over three months: sculptures of different shape and size, still life prints and a moving image piece produced by Curious Productions.

The exhibition seeks to raise the public’s awareness on the huge amount of waste that we overlook and to encourage people to accept bones as a fully-fledged art medium.

“I get a very mixed bag of reactions when people see that I am working with bone, some is quite animated horror! Haha…” Witter recalls. “The floral shapes that I’m obsessing with are a result of me insisting on the harmless beauty of them. I want them to feel absolutely natural, weightless, elegant.”

Bone sculpture by artist Emma Witter
Emma Witter, 2018, Flora ||,bones,earthenware, glass,35x23cm
Bone sculpture by artist Emma Witter
Emma Witter, Flora |||, 2018,bones,earthenware,glass,35x23cm_

 

Bloom is an artistic contribution to the wider conversation of the “nose-to-tail” dining movement in London, which proposes possible solutions to the wastage problem in the food industry.

“I would be proud if my work gave a nod to that, and I would certainly like to develop this idea of using an industry byproduct as artistic material” says Witter . “I would love to start creating my own plaster out of bone dust (which I am collecting) and also bone chalks, or mixing them with natural wax mediums etc. Bones can be used for all sorts of products, like soaps, glues, gelatins, fertilizers, charcoal, English soft porcelain (bone china), even a lot of photographic equipment, and I would love the opportunity to create my own by recycling bones.”

 

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With Bloom, Hix and Witter found a creative recipe to  raise awareness about waste excess: by transforming materials destined to become garbage into long-lasting objects of beauty.

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Bloom opening night:  March 27th 2018 at Hix Art Gallery/Tramshed Restaurant.

Sing up to my contact list and you’ll be automatically added to the artist guest list for the event.

Don’t miss out on this multi-sensorial experience!

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