Sunday, December 16, 2018


Tonight  Friday, December 21. 9.30 pm, join us for the presentation of 
"O NATAL DOS 12" by António Júlio Duarte. The projection will be  followed by a Christmas communal supper. Please bring food and drinks.

O NATAL DOS 12
António Júlio Duarte

Slide Diaporama 1989
Sound Program Borja Montes Caro


A "deser", or table centrepiece, is one of the most remarkable creations in the decorative arts of the 18th century. Present at most banquets, it was the crown jewel of the table setting, structuring the feast itself while remaining throughout the copious rituals of silver service. Among the most notable and famous "desers" are the ones created by Luigi Valadier who designed miniature architectural models, built with precious stones, meticulously detailed and mounted according to classic cannons, imprinting any meal with an ideal of civilisation – much needed among the barbaric imperial taste .
In the late 1980s, while the Iberian Peninsula hoped to join civilised Europe and waited in line for a piece of that E$E$C pie, two young artists (one younger than the other), photographer António Júlio Duarte and chef Jorge Paixão, began an intense collaboration for "Ementa", the weekly food section of the national widespread newspaper Expresso. Jorge Paixão, a man of the Lisbon Movida and a former Hilton chef with a cinema background, sought to expand the regional borders of Portuguese taste. Unburdened by commercial constraints, and with the support of thousands of eager recipe followers, they started experimenting with food and would become the pioneers of Portuguese food styling.

In these regular sessions, over 15 years, António Júlio Duarte staged uncanny Still Lifes using food as material to construct images. This continuous research in perception involved experiments such as hammering chicken to the wall, impaling fish and poultry, dissecting fruits and vegetables… a true challenge to the emotional brain.
In 1989, faithful to the tenet "truth to materials", Paixão invited postmodern architects Manuel Graça Dias and Egas José Vieira to join the collaboration on a Christmas special edition. The idea was to recreate and photograph twelve “traditional” recipes from the twelve EEC countries. The result was a fairly loose interpretation of the culture of the fellow member countries, an opportunity to rethink what Europe was or could be. The Christmas Council potlatch featured a mock turtle soup from the United Kingdom, a christstollen from the Federal Republic of Germany, a Greek stuffed turkey, star fritters from Portugal (a rookie state of the starred alliance), an Irish spiced beef, a cod from the French Provence, a Danish duck and a Spanish sea bream in the oven, a grilled eel from Italy, a Dutch Christmas wreath, a smelly boudin with potatoes and roasted apples from Belgium and, finally, a Christmas trunk made in Luxembourg. These recipes were religiously followed and prepared by thousands of untravelled readers who, unaware of adulterations, took them as trustworthy portraits of a cross-cultural region. Graça Dias and Vieira, like Valadier, staged Paixão's passioned chef-d'oeuvres with the most elegant architecture props, intersecting the raw and the cooked. All this was frozen by António Júlio's deep color cibachrome feast, a work in line with Florence Henri’s Bauhaus photographs.

On Friday 21st, Oporto will try to recreate one of these recipes, the mock turtle soup. The English cheaper version of an exotic delicacy, which originally came with its own bowl and pan, was Andy Warhol's favourite Campbell can for its taste of metal, meat and fish. This Pan-European repast will be accompanied by a diaporama: a projection of the 12 photographs of António Júlio Duarte, comprising the 12 recipes by Jorge Paixão and Vieira and Graça Dias’ 12 "desers”, each image triggering music from the 12 countries (a selection made by nuestro hermano Borja Caro Montes). This presentation is extended to the walls of the bakery Nita, in Rua do Poço dos Negros 127 (Lisbon's historical center), where five of these photos have been on permanent display since the 1990’s.



Then the Queen left off, quite out of breath, and said to Alice, 
“Have you seen the Mock Turtle yet?”
“No,” said Alice. “I don’t even know what a Mock Turtle is.”
“It’s the thing Mock Turtle Soup is made from,” said the Queen.

Alice in Wonderland   





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