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Miralda. The Artist as Economic Prophet

Arts, Buenos Aires

Throughout his artistic career, Antoni Miralda (Spain, 1942) has harnessed the power of food through rituals, ceremonials and processionals for over five decades. By Florencio Noceti.

“The wealth of those societies in which the capitalist mode of production prevails, presents itself as an immense accumulation of commodities.” The first sentence of Karl Marx’s Capital —and the whole theory it implies—is considered for revisions today in light of a major shift that currently redefines our economies. A shift that applies not only to economy as production, distribution, consumption and management of resources, but also—and maybe more importantly— to the economy of desire. A shift, finally, that can be understood as a break, away from the accumulation of material goods, and towards the exchange of human experiences.

Marx’s first definition of commodity reads “an object outside us”. Yet since the dawn of the 21st century, societies that have prevailed through these capitalist modes of production seem to have lost interest in objects as such. Maybe it is the sheer immensity of their accumulation that has rendered them unattractive and ordinary. What is certain is that wealth, instead, tends to present itself as an ever-increasing variety of ephemeral events, of shows and joys to be experienced.

Visual arts have not remained unchanged by the paradigm shift. Seemingly everywhere, paintings and sculptures give way to performances and site-specific installations. Yet the connection between the work of artists and the transition towards an economy of experience does not end there, in a simple reaction. Decades ago, in the second half of the last century, a few clairvoyant artists appear to have foreseen—albeit through a mist of sorts—the changes that were coming. And, in many ways, they have also fostered those changes. One of these visionary and influential figures was, and very much still is, Antoni Miralda.

For almost 50 years now, Miralda has been traveling the world, immersing audiences in participatory performances. His greatest creations are not lasting objects, but transient (even if unforgettable) experiences. And although he is prolific in many fields, Miralda’s name has become a household word in the rapidly expanding realms where gastronomy and visual arts meet. Within them, he is the ultimate pioneer. His Food Cultura is a beacon for any newcomer acclimating to the a lay of the land. And his legendary New York restaurant, El Internacional, is the laboratory to which increasing numbers of artists and chefs, performers and bartenders, look back in search for inspiration.

El Internacional. Miralda & Montse Guillén

Faena Art is pleased to announce El Internacional Archaeological Sandwich, an immersive, site-specific installation and culinary experience conceived by world-renowned Catalan artist Miralda and restaurateur Montse Guillén.

The weekend-long pop-up will be open at the Faena Art Center Buenos Aires from July 27 to 29 featuring historic objects and new works by Miralda, in addition to a menu of international flavors and ingredients designed in collaboration with James Beard award-winning chef Paul Qui.

El Internacional is a reimagination of El Internacional Tapas Bar & Restaurant, an artistic project and social experiment in the Tribeca neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City from 1984 to 1986. During this time, the restaurant served as a space for the daring exploration of cross-cultural, trans-disciplinary aesthetics, merging the cultural contexts of contemporary art and cuisine.