Daniel Spoerri was born in Galați (Romania) but the historical events of the 20th century led him to Switzerland and from that moment on to a continuous change of perspectives, to reversals of planes, from the horizontal to the vertical, a concept that underlies his artistic production, and Eat Art, which he himself invented and defined.
To understand Spoerri’s art, one must take into account the artist’s first real training, which began in the theatre as a choreographer and dancer. The element of theatricality was to become part of Spoerri’s entire production in the following decades, leading to his first solo exhibition in 1961, in Milan, curated by art historian Arturo Schwarz.
It was at the end of the 1960s that, having moved to Paris, Daniel Spoerri came into contact with numerous artists such as Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray who would inspire him to an abstract interpretation of the relationship between object and reality, between meaning and signifier. His research examines everyday objects, with a fascination for food and its socio-cultural significance.
From his earliest works, the artist intended to reflect on the meanings of nutrition, celebrating what is to all intents and purposes a daily ritual, enclosed in a single moment that vanishes along with the food only to reappear time and again with repeated gestures and objects.
Spoerri invents tableaux-pièges (trap paintings), precisely because he traps, by crystallising time, piled-up everyday objects. The tables thus move from the horizontal plane to the vertical, a change of dimension that with a simple gesture turns a set table into a work of art, to be hung and therefore worthy of being exhibited in a gallery.
Spoerri’s Eat Art is to be understood as a still but interactive performance, the artist in fact recounts the experience of individuals by leaving the elements on the table as they are, representing great differences in individual experiences.
In 1960, Daniel Spoerri wrote of his own work in the Nouveau Réalisme Manifesto as follows: ‘I only put a little glue on objects; I do not allow myself any creativity.
There is the allure of decadence and the mystery of experiences (dinners and lunches) to which we have not been invited. Spoerri’s still lifes overturn the plan of a story written once and forever, trapped vertically.