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take from the table, bring to the table

Installation with activations, wheat dough, digital projection

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Photography: Jake Caleb and Chun Yao Lin

The work invites the viewer to look at pelmeni, a specific type of dumpling and national dish of Russia, through multiple lenses. From pelmeni as sustenance of the nomadic people of the Ural region; to conquerors consuming pelmeni and regional culture whilst expanding maps of Imperial Russia; and then from the perspective of personal memories in the privacy of a domestic kitchen. It is a recipe preserved and passed on from generation to generation, from hands to hands and from East to West.


Inspired by Anja Novak’s essay ‘Dishing Up Colonialism’, the work intends to connect cartography and cuisine in an edible installation. The research is situated in the Ural mountains, the birthplace of the artist and its presentation consists of two activation moments:

Taking from the table - a systematic act of cutting of the dough as landscape divided and conquered, presented in a lecture performance for a wide audience. This activation looks at the colonial history of, and impacts on the Ural region. The cutting of the dough landscape acts as a metaphor for the loss of land, ways of being and cultures that have lived here, juxtaposed with the land uses of today.

Bringing to the table - a collective, conversational cooking session with invited guests focused on intimacy and listening. This activation is a guided conversation around the table where the invited guests bring personal stories connected to the context of Russian colonialism whilst making edible sculptures.

Shown at Refractions, BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht. Curated by Katia Krupennikova.

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