Ferran Adrià: Notes on Creativity

  • Culinary Arts
  • New York
  • Sat, January 25 —
    Fri, February 28, 2014
Ferran Adrià: Notes on Creativity

The Drawing Center presents the first major museum exhibition to focus on the visualization and drawing practices of master chef Ferran Adrià.

The exhibition will emphasize the role of drawing in Adrià’s quest to understand creativity. His complex body of work positions the medium as both a philosophical tool —used to organize and convey knowledge, meaning, and signification— as well as a physical object used to synthesize over twenty years of innovation in the kitchen.

Food culture, like any form of culture, requires outliers, and Ferran Adrià is its provocateur. As one of the most important avant-garde chefs of the twenty-first century, Adrià pushes culinary boundaries with knowledge and wit, transforming the art of food into an art form all its own. Hundreds of notebooks have been filled with concepts, ideas, collaged photographs, and loose sketches for new dishes for elBulli. More straightforward creative methods in the form of lists, tables of ingredients, and cooking methods have also been used to synthesize ingredients and conceptualize new ways of cooking. The use of drawing to articulate cuisine (as both product and concept) highlights a creative model that is always in flux and constantly shifting.

Ferran Adrià: Notes on Creativity will chart the origins of this innovator’s intellectual and philosophical ideas about gastronomy that have forever changed how we understand food. These ideas will be presented as wall graphics, framed prints, and related ephemera. The exterior of a large cube in the center of the Main Gallery will feature large-scale photographic reproductions of elBulli’s kitchen during service. A series of vitrines around the cube will display a selection of elBulli notebooks documenting menu development, product taxonomies, and personal notes; architectural drawings and a model of the new elBulli Foundation headquarters; elBulli’s plasticine food models; and drawings and prototypes related to elBulli’s dishware, utensils, menus, and graphic identity. Inside the cube Adria’s “working boards” will lean against large-scale documentary photographs of the elBulli archive in Barcelona. These boards were used in the elBulli atelier to document and organize research, menu development, and photography. The “working boards” at The Drawing Center will include drawings from the 2006 and 2008 elBulli menus, abstract plating drawings and drawings, from Adrià’s Peach Melba project.

The Drawing Center’s Lab gallery will screen Documenting Documenta about Adrià’s participation in Documenta 12, and will debut 1846, a film produced by The Drawing Center that will feature images of every dish that Adrià served at elBulli.

DNA of the Culinary Process
On Thursday, January 23rd at 7 pm at New Museum Auditorium.
The New Museum and The Drawing Center will co-host an evening conversation between Ferran Adrià and Dan Barber, chef and co-owner of Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns in New York, that will be moderated by Brett Littman, Executive Director of The Drawing Center. They will premiere and discuss Adrià’s new DNA of the Culinary Process research project, which for the first time in the history of gastronomy, collects and organizes the products, actions, concepts, and results involved in the cooking process.
Walkthrough of the exhibition
On Saturday, January 25th at 2 pm.
Brett Littman, curator and Executive Director of The Drawing Center and Ferran Adrià will lead a public walkthrough of the exhibition.
Book reading and discussion
On Thursday, January 30, from 6:30 pm to 8pm.
Eve Meltzer, Associate Professor of Visual Studies at NYU, will read excerpts from her new book, Systems We Have Loved: Conceptual Art, Affect, and the Antihumanist Turn, and discuss its relationship to Ferran Adrià’s ambitious culinary, systematic, and drawn aspects.

Opening reception on Friday, January 24, from 6 pm to 8 pm. Curated by Brett Littman.


Venue map

The Drawing Center, 35 Wooster Street, New York, NY 10013


Presented by The Drawing Center and Dom Pérignon. Additional support is provided by the Institut Ramon Llul, Acción Cultural Española, AC/E, and Lavazza. Special thanks to The James New York. Image by Ferran Adrià, Plating Diagram, Ink on paper, 11x17 inches, Courtesy of elBullifoundation.



Don't miss events like this one! Subscribe to our bimonthly newsletter to stay informed. Our subscribers also get exclusive access to select online content such as free screenings or concerts.

Sign up for our newsletter