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17 November 2022
“Developing” stories. Giuliana Racco at La Capella

There is something in the artist Giuliana Racco’s new project that is reminiscent of Laura Esquivel’s memorable book Como agua para chocolate(Like Water for Chocolate) and its unforgettable recipe for Quail in Rose Petals, in which the magic of an impossible love was condensed to made everyone who ate it suddenly feel the repressed orgasm that throbs throughout the work.

On November 24, we will all be able to taste Giuliana’s delicacies and enjoy ourselves until we drop from exhaustion with her new project Revelando(Developing). As if it were a delicacy served on hot rose petals, we will be able to admire the results of a workshop that has brought together two of the most immemorial traditions that have existed since the world was a world and our species inhabited it: to eat and to portray oneself, that is, eating as a story, a self-narrative. To eat each minute of your life one by one and to portray this in order, as the artist says, to understand your own memory. Promoted by Homesession and led by the artist, this wonderous work will be exhibited at La Capella in Barcelona.

The truth is, we need to continue looking into this project, its name, its results, a project that could not be more original and developed. Giuliana Racco tells us that there is an immemorial historical relationship between cooking and photography. These two disciplines are based on a kind of alchemy in which the ingredients, the chemistry and their experimentation transform the original elements and documents the history of civilization with all its conflicts. When I stand in front of a camera I cook up my own image, and my face, my expression and my language are all ingredients of my own recipe. Racco understood it perfectly, she is the supreme chef of this restaurant, which, like the boutique fantasque, we could call wonderous.

In this magic shop, in this dark room, the secrets of the participants are revealed. More than the photos themselves, what really matters is the development process, and here is where we encounter the real meaning of the project and the explicit reference to its name: to develop yourself as you develop images of yourself. Giuliana Racco mentions how this small dark room ended up being a space where stories and experiences are shared, and what is photography but a way to narrate them? There are so many means of narration available today, but most all of them are irrelevant. Nonetheless, as Elena Ferrante says, we tell ourselves stories to survive, to understand the constant passing of time.

Revelando also addresses the issue of community, of belonging, and thus, of exclusion. The participants were all immigrants, a term that in fact could serve as an exhibition in itself, a museum, a cathedral and an entire documentary series, but which in Giuliana’s project takes on a clear meaning. As the artist herself says, the project addresses the construction of community, transformation and the reuse of resources from a creative methodology that explores new ways of self-nourishing, relating and expressing.

The most interesting thing of all is that the participants were able to create their own cameras through organic products using food, with elements as disparate as a cucumber or a pumpkin. This brings us together again and we can hear the echoes of archaic traditions. Not too far back in time, we grabbed clay and blood and mixed them together to paint inside caves, the first self-representations, pure sustainability before this term had any meaning.

Giuliana Racco states: “Revelando is a participatory artistic project that is created through a series of practical workshops focused on identity, migration and social exclusion (or in/exclusion) and its relationship with food practices, through sustainable photography as a means of expression, creation and self-narrative.”

If we look deeper we find real poetry in this project. These people have had to adapt to totally foreign environments, in critical situations, in search of a new identity, and often it is traditions as ingrained as diet that determine much more complex factors. What we eat represents us and we represent our heritage by what we eat. Playing with these two concepts is an exercise in freedom and a cathartic act, and that’s how the participants experienced it.

The artist believes that food is power, that food is a resource, a language and an act of transformation, and thus we return again to Laura Esquivel and her quail. For if the diners at that Mexican dining table experienced unexpected sensations with each forkful, these project participants have felt the same with each development, they were able to give a material form to the abstract, to understand their discourse, to give themselves a meaning. For that alone we should celebrate Giuliana Racco, because telling our stories is powerful, and because we must provide everyone with the means to do so.

And if there are civilizations that believe that photographs stole their soul, but Giuliana turns this around and tell us that we can get them back. Truly, these days we have discovered too much or maybe covered up too much. With each post we upload, we weave our own discourse, though sweetening it a bit, and too much sweetening spoils the recipe, each like kills the original flavor, somewhere between bitter and desired.

In the end, this project is a hymn to origins, and is thus reminiscent of Ana Diosdado, in Olvida los tambores (Forget the Drums), in the way characters reveal themselves little by little in the way they cook. It is time to hear those drums again, to feel reconnected, to cook over a low flame and to search for new meanings. Thanks to Racco, we learn how representing oneself can once again be a way of developing oneself, and not a mere artificially-sweetened disguise.

Revelando| Giuliana Racco
Homesession in collaboration with La Capella’s Concèntric program
Opening Thursday, November 24, 2022, at 7 pm. On display until January 08, 2023
La Capella C/. Hospital 56, Barcelona 08001

Jesús Nebreda Galíndez is a specialist in design and art for digital platforms with a Master’s degree in Cultural Management from the City University of London whose thesis was on Fashion as one of our latest societal cultural products. Jesús has worked for institutions such as the British Museum and Saatchi Gallery and on art and design retail platforms such as Pamono and more recently Artsy. He is a regular contributor writing reviews and interviews for the publications METAL, Acero and Neo2.

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