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Grim[m] Essen


Grim[m] Essen

"...a fairytale, a kind of story with hopelessness in it. I believe there is something in these old stories that does what singing does to words. They have transformational capabilities, in the way that melody can transform mood. They can't transform your actual situation, but they can transform your experience of it. We don't create a fantasy world to escape reality; we create it to be able to stay. I believe we have always done this, used images to stand and understand what otherwise would be intolerable." — From Lynda Barry, What It Is

The 250 tales collected by the Brothers Grimm in the early 19th century in Southern Germany are full of remarkable images of food. The characters eat meager meals or sumptuous feasts; they consume magical potions or poisunous brews.

There are the food images we're all familiar with, such as the trail of bread crumbs or the golden apple, and then there are some very esoteric ones. In on story, a maiden bathes in honey and then rolls in feather. In another, a maiden must wear fur while cooking but not let a single hair fall into the soup. A man first eats a mountain of bread and then drinks a cellar full of wine.

Food is unstable in the stories. It may function as sustenance or as symbol. It may serve a poetic purpose or an evidentiary one. Animals, including human animals, both eat and are eaten.

The fairy tales are not morally consistent. That is to say, they are not fables. But they offer up a wealth of provocative themes: benevolence, bravery, cleverness, cowardice, faith, forgiveness, fertility, futility, generosity, greed, gratitude, humility, identity, labor, loyalty, lineage, justice, malice, naivete, nobility, paternity, patience, poverty, pride, retribution, trickery, vengeance, wealth.

Over the course of the three week residency, we experimented with staging as many tableaus of food-based images as we could. These were seen by accidental spectators and by invited audiences.

During the first two weekends of the show, we took groups on walking tours during which re-staged some of the most poetic and/or the most haunting of the images we found and we created tasting menus for some of the foods. These tours, along with the opening table(au) provided us with opportunities to have conversations about the recurrent themes of the stories.


Jessie Eisner-Kleyle, Anna Lena Mahlman, Sarah Runge, Maike Korber, Anna Minasyan, Hermine Araqelyan, Barbara Kocsis


Anna Lena Mahlman, Maike Korber, Jutta Frank-Groper, Tobias Bauer, Volker Schafer


Jessie Eisner-Kleyle, Anna Lena Mahlman, Sarah Runge, Barbara Kocsis, Stefan Benz, Sascha Recker, Tobias Bauer, Volker Schafer, Hans Sachsse, Rolf Gonner, Johannes Breckner


Ute Ritschel and Peter Fischer


Florian Huber, Cecila Pfaff, Peter Eisenstecken, Christiane Dette, Gotthard Scholz-Curtis, Renate Bopp, Sonja Hofmann-Glockner


Marion & Chris Pepper, Katharina Sommer, Donald Phillips, Linda Horowitz, Peter and Heidi Kimmel, Roger Rigorth and Elke Bauer, Juergen Heinz, Anna Ritschel

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