Culture

Salmon: A Red Herring

Art Now: Cooking Sections: reflecting on the impact of salmon farms on the environment

Cooking Sections, CLIMAVORE: On Tidal Zones, 2017-ongoing. Photo credit - Colin Hattersley

Coming soon, London-based Cooking Sections present their new project Salmon: A Red Herring at Tate Britain, reflecting on the impact of salmon farms on the environment. This will be the first in Tate Britain’s ongoing Art Now series of free exhibitions showcasing emerging talent and highlighting new developments in British art since the gallery reopened this summer.

Cooking Sections (Daniel Fernández Pascual & Alon Schwabe) is a duo of spatial practitioners examining the systems that organise the world through food. Using installation, performance, mapping and video, their research-based practice explores the overlapping boundaries between visual arts, architecture, ecology and geopolitics. Salmon: A Red Herring is a continuation of Cooking Sections’ long-term body of work CLIMAVORE initiated on the Isle of Skye in Scotland, which explores how our diet can address and respond to the climate emergency. Different from carnivore, omnivore, locavore, vegetarian or vegan diets, CLIMAVORE is not only about the origin of food, but also about the agency that food has in our response to human-induced climatic events. At the core is an aim to embrace an adaptive and responsive form of eating.

Cooking Sections: Daniel Fernández Pascual & Alon Schwabe

Salmon: A Red Herring at Tate Britain will consist of a site-specific installation which uses sound, light and sculpture to explore the deceptive reality of salmon, both as a colour and a fish. Salmon is usually thought of as salmon pink. Today farmed salmon should be grey, but chemical substances and colourants make them the desired colour as we would expect in nature. As Cooking Sections describe it, salmon is ‘the colour of a wild fish which is neither wild, nor fish, nor even salmon’.

Farmed salmon are fed dyes chosen by means of the SalmoFan™, a system of fifteen shades of pink. The artificial colouring reflects consumer demands of recognisably natural colours. Salmon is just one of many colour oddities resulting from the metabolisation of manmade substances in bodies.

In this installation, salmon is used as an example of colour oddities occurring in nature due to industrialisation, resource extraction and the degradation of landscapes. Shifting hues in flesh, scales, feathers, skin, leaves or wings give us clues to understand environmental and metabolic transformations all around, along and inside us. The project will also include interventions in the cafes across all of Tate’s sites. The exhibition is accompanied by a new book, Salmon: A Red Herring, published by Isolarii.

Art Now is a series of free exhibitions at Tate Britain focusing on new and recent work by emerging artists. Since the 1990s, Art Now has recognised talent at its outset and provided a launching platform for artists who have gone on to become established figures on the international art scene. The series has recently included Sophia Al-Maria, France-Lise McGurn, Joanna Piotrowska, Jesse Darling, Lisa Brice, Marguerite Humeau and Simeon Barclay.

  • Art Now: Cooking Sections: Salmon: A Red Herring is curated by Nathan Ladd, Assistant Curator, Contemporary British Art, Tate.
  • Get the book - Salmon: A Red Herring - here
  • More info here - cooking-sections.com

Cooking Sections, Mussel Beach, 2019

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