The Art of Food by Kristiane Kegelmann
THE GERMAN ARTIST AND PASTRY CHEF CREATES FEASTS FOR THE EYES – AND TASTEBUDS.
Kristiane Kegelmann schleps around concrete slabs at the back of her Berlin atelier while chocolate tempers in the oven.
“People put me into the ‘candy-girl-who-wants-to-be-an-artist' box,” the Bavarian-born food designer and sculptor says. “Like, ‘Oh, she wants to play around a bit.’ But what I do is far more serious than that.”
Kristiane’s artistic expression bridges tactile with taste. She creates complex installations that combine inedible materials such as wood, steel and concrete with culinary creations.
Blocks of goat’s milk mousse sit like clouds on concrete wedges; sourdough bread wrapped in foil peeks out from concrete windows, ripe for the plucking; and shiny, geometric baubles made from pralines hang from wires, like beads on necklaces draped from the ceiling.
Understanding her work requires the courage to reach out and take a bite.
Stifled by her formal training as a pastry chef in southern Germany and Vienna, Kristiane migrated to Berlin to expand her craft into the realm of art galleries and exhibitions, despite never having worked in such spaces.
Many people fail to grasp that culinary expertise plays a central role in every piece of art she creates, she says. In other words, flavor isn’t sacrificed in cooking up this eye candy. Fresh, earthy juices of celery and beet yield vibrant color. Traditional nougat-filled pralines are swapped out for chocolates stuffed with smoked trout and dried fennel flowers, chestnut or buckwheat.
The result is installations that force audiences to slow down and indulge their sensory sweet tooth. Experiencing her art is a rare moment of condensed complexity that traditional gastronomy gulps down too fast, and conventional sculptors perhaps never realize.
“I like that people get to know the art because they are becoming part of it,” she explains. “They are part of the transformation of the sculpture and through this different perception, they get this intense moment where they get right to the heart of the piece.”
Kristiane wants to have a foot in both the arts and culinary worlds, but belong to neither. She says purist gastronomes may scoff that she doesn’t focus enough on the food, while classic artists contest that her work creates nothing of permanence.
“People always have to see black or white,” she says of her skeptics. “But you don't have to study art to be an artist, and you don't have to do an apprenticeship as a chef to be a really good chef.”
See more images of Kiegleman’s work below or check out her website.