From Bread to Cake

︎This project was curated by The II Platform and the Iran-based Artist/Curator Fatemeh Kazemi , it will include conceptual recipes, text works and video screenings.

Since the first lockdown, an explosive wave of home baking made its appearance as a mechanism of adapting, accepting, and enjoying such a difficult and strange experience to our everyday life situation.
Home-baking became such a big part of every household while flour shortages in supermarkets around the world resembled images from a state of war. People started producing their own safe food and showed that the act of baking retains its ancient essential role; providing sustenance, social bonding, and satisfaction as well as revealing the critical role of seed politics in food sovereignty.
The forced reflection caused by the lockdown conditions in a way involuntarily made us rethink our social contracts. From the most simple of our choices to the most complicated ones and pushed us into space where we had to figure out what was essential and what extravagant.
Our Platform will exhibit online a three-month-long project through the whole month of February 2021 exploring what Bread and Cake and the contrary notions of essential and extravagant could mean or represent in past, present, and future times. 
After the completion of the project a publication will be produced documenting the whole project which the main reference is the Rosa Montazami's cookbook; The Art of Cooking: A collection of Persian and French dishes. هنر آشپزی: مجموعه غذاهای ایرانی و فرنگی
Rosa Montazami’s cookbook was an influential reference that informed the whole structure of the project aesthetically and conceptually.
This cookbook is one of the classics in the Iranian tradition of cooking and it is found in almost every kitchen. “The Art of Cooking” by Rosa Montazami (Fatemeh Bahreyni) was first published in 1964 with more than 600 recipes of Persian and European recipes. It is one of the first Farsi cookbooks which has been on every house corner for many years as a beloved guide. After the revolution, the book was republished and it is said that even during the Iran-Iraq war it was sold to young couples by coupons. After each print, more recipes were added till the last ones that contained around 1700 recipes.
In the first pages of the book, Rosa has written a guide on “Art of Hosting” which she insists on the audience to read and practice, as even the best food is worthless without a proper presentation. This preface is quite interesting as it describes a luxurious hosting way, with butlers and silver spoons, Even though this was quite an inaccessible and prohibited lifestyle after the Islamic Revolution 1979. The text is also focused on the role of the “Lady of the House” as the director of the scene, which puts light on the gender roles and gender politics of its time. There is also a part in the end where she mentions diets and ways to lose weight.
The images in the book are quite fascinating with exaggerated colours and bizarrely decorated food. Having in mind the photography techniques used then, this is another testimony to her perspective on the theatrics of food.
Even though it has been many years since the first publishing of the book, it is still one of the most notables and influential cookbooks in Iranian culture.


May Hands

Laura Wilson
Ziba Rajabi

Melih Aydemir
Zehra Nazli
Jumana Manna
Heidi E Cooper
Shaima Ayoub
Fatemeh Kazemi
Sandwich Collective
Shyamli Singbal
Shamiran Istifan
Andria Kyriakidou
Shahrzad Jahan