Ferran Adrià: Notes on Creativity

Downloadable PDF

Minneapolis, August, 26, 2015–The first major museum exhibition to focus on the visualization and drawing practices of Ferran Adrià, the Spanish master chef, goes on view at the Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) from September 17, 2015, through January 3, 2016. Described as the “Salvador Dalì” of the kitchen by Gourmet magazine, Ferran Adrià is considered to be one of the world’s top chefs. Organized by The Drawing Center in New York, “Ferran Adrià: Notes on Creativity” emphasizes the role of drawing in Adrià’s quest for new gustatory experiences. For over 20 years, Adrià oversaw Spain’s most famous destination-restaurant, elBulli, outside Barcelona. At this paradigm-shifting restaurant, he created an innovative multi-sensory vocabulary and structure that expanded the ways in which diners encounter, consider, and judge their relationship to food and art.

Through sketches, models, and diagrams, “Notes on Creativity” charts the origins of Adrià’s intellectual and philosophical ideas about gastronomy. Food culture, like any form of culture, requires outliers, and Ferran Adrià is its provocateur. He filled hundreds of notebooks with concepts, ideas, collaged photographs, and loose sketches for new dishes for elBulli. He also employed more straightforward creative methods—in the form of lists, tables of ingredients, and cooking techniques—to
conceptualize new ways of cooking. These days Adrià continues to draw, no longer charting dishes but rather the practice of cooking itself. The designs, and other elBulli artifacts, will be on display in “Notes on Creativity.”
The exhibition features a broad range of artwork, objects, models, and displays that demonstrate Adrià’s deep commitment to the creative process and the art of gastronomy. These include examples of the chef’s personal sketchbooks that visually document his cutting-edge ideas and strategies; a series of drawings outlining his “theory of culinary evolution”; large-scale maps of the culinary and creative processes; custom-designed pictograms and kitchen tools developed exclusively for elBulli; and a room-sized recreation of Adrià’s personal archive with examples of working boards used to create the innovative menus, dishes, and plating diagrams for the restaurant. Additionally, a film on Adrià’s groundbreaking participation in the modern and contemporary exhibition “documenta 12” (2007), and a slideshow of the 1,846 dishes he and his team created for elBulli, will be screened throughout the run of the exhibition.

“Ferran Adrià: Notes on Creativity” began an international tour at the Drawing Center, New York, January 25–Febraury 28, 2014; followed by the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, September 26, 2014–January 18, 2015; and the Nelson-Atkins Museum, in Kansas City, Missouri, February 28–August 2, 2015. After appearing at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, it opens at Marres House for Contemporary Culture in Maastricht, The Netherlands, in March 2016.

About Ferran Adrià
In April 1984, Ferran Adrià Acosta (b. 1962, Barcelona) joined the team of elBulli in the position of Chef de Partie. By 1987, Adrià began to use ingredients, techniques, and regional influences that reinterpreted “haute cuisine.” Until 1993, a Mediterranean style defined much of the cuisine of elBulli and exerted an important influence on the Catalan and Spanish cuisine of this period. However, in 1990, Adrià began incorporating tapas, spoons, skewers, jellies, and savory ice cream—concepts that reached their full expression by 1994. From that time on, three pillars characterized the cuisine of elBulli: continual research of new cooking techniques; an emphasis on the role of the senses in the art of creating and eating; and the sixth sense—the role of reason and reflection on the act of eating. Adrià’s trademark cuisine was served to elBulli diners in the form of an extensive tasting menu, which grew to more than 40 dishes per meal in the final years of the restaurant. Beginning in the late 1980s, Adrià and Juli Soler (founder and co-owner of elBulli, who died in July 2015) established a culinary season that was divided into two parts: six months of service in the restaurant and six months of research and creativity. In 2011 Adrià closed elBulli to transform it into a foundation; it opened in 2015 to preserve the legacy of elBulli, including its installations and archive. The space also provides facilities for activities related to the process of creativity with a team that will publish its research online.
Dom Pérignon is the presenting partner of “Ferran Adrià: Notes on Creativity.”
Additional support is provided by the Institut Ramon Llull, Acción Cultural Española (AC/E) and Lavazza.