Sweet Feast is a new commission by artist Ulla von Brandenburg (b. 1974, Germany), in partnership with Le Prix Marcel Duchamp. Sweet Feast features a new film screened for six months in Whitechapel Gallery’s ground floor gallery. Visitors of all ages are invited to take a seat and watch on a large, colourful structure designed by the artist upholstered in Kvadrat’s Divina.
The historic exhibition Sweets was Whitechapel Gallery’s contribution to the ‘Fanfare for Europe’ celebrations. It featured an irresistible display of confectionary from European Common Market members included Belgian chocolate coins, French lollipops shaped as the Eiffel Tower, gummy mice from Germany, coffee-flavoured Hopjes from Holland, Italian marzipan fruits, salty licorice from Denmark, Irish mints and toffee from Yorkshire. According to archive records on 28 January 1973, the last day of the exhibition, 500 children visited to learn about sweets as popular art. The children were invited to sample specially selected candies donated by some of the manufacturers. In their enthusiasm, they overwhelmed the only guard on duty and devoured all the displays.
This summer Ulla von Brandenburg recorded a re-staging of this curious incident, working with the participation of children from local primary school Arnhem Wharf. The film includes a song co-written by the children and artist.
Sweet Feast is informed by the context of the original exhibition, staged at a time when new educational methods considering children as individuals emerged and against a political backdrop of anti-establishment movements, struggles for freedom and civil rights. It also considers opportunities for the next generation, during a period dominated by conversations about the future impact of Brexit.
Ulla von Brandenburg: Sweet Feast
Whitechapel Gallery, London
21 September 2018 – 31 March 2019