every picture tells a story, don’t it – Rod Stewart
On the death of his father in 1942, Romanian-born Daniel Isaac Feinstein fled to Switzerland with his family where he was adopted by his uncle Théophile Spoerri. He spent the 1950s gaining extensive experience in every aspect of the theatre and through this involvement and his organization of banquets, festivals and exhibitions, Spoerri met some of the great Surrealists of the day. It must have given him the impetus to move to and settle in Paris in 1959 where shortly thereafter he became a founder-member of Nouveau réalisme. 1960 found the artist producing the first of his tableaux pièges (snare pictures such as Kichka’s Breakfast above) where objects in chance positions on tabletops, in drawers or on furniture were glued onto the surface upon which they rested exactly as they were found. The resulting realistic still-life sculptures were displayed vertically on a wall like a conventional picture and the objects they contained appeared to defy gravity.
RESTAURANT DE LA CITY GALERIE, ZURICH, 1965, DANIEL SPOERRI
Spoerri’s use of the mundane fragments of daily life, letting chance and the randomness of use dictate their placement, became more elaborate with time. An overwhelming interest with food as art was furthered through his opening in Dusseldorf of the Restaurant Spoerri (1968) which was decorated with 15 years of the artist’s correspondence and served an unusual menu of exotic meats. A daily inspiration for later works, here the preparation of a meal and its consumption by “customers” in effect transformed the first stage of the creative process into one in which he relinquished control of the artistic piece- its final immortalization as thought-provoking installation clearly illustrates the connectivity between artist, art and consumer through one of man’s most basic and often communal functions – that of eating. Spoerri’s gastronomic interests were not limited to his own work – he founded the Eat Art Gallery located above his restaurant (1970) which presented solo shows of temporary works made from food by such artists as Joseph Beuys, Richard Lindner, Ben, and the Nouveaux Réalistes Arman, César and Niki de Saint Phalle.
Daniel Spoerri has continued to be involved in numerous activities from the Musée sentimental (Paris, Pompidou, 1979), with similar displays in Germany and Switzerland, teaching a course in multi-media at the Fachhochschule für Kunst und Design in Cologne to the most recent cultivation of Il Giardino di Daniel Spoerri in Tuscany.
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