Materia prima, Lucia Leuci



It's curious when you notice how a starred-restaurant in the city center of Paris does not correspond to an equally Michelin-awarded one in Italy.

The truth is that receiving such a desired award in the French capital means being a creative, extroverted food exponent. Restaurants there have very refined interiors, but never elegant; sober and minimal instead, never opulent. The dishes themselves are the lucid result not of a cook's prowess, but of a chef's flair. Thus imposing (how ironic) that never-ending debate between form and matter.

Cuisine and gastronomy are not the same thing, the first one could be described as all those things that have been spawned by tradition and food through time, while the second one is a derivative of our contemporary times, a lot harder to frame, but surely absolute, with the aesthetic research as a necessary feature.

Starred-restaurant in Italy are most of the time born out of that tradition that's tied to the economical boom of the sixties, where the host (the customer) could live his own experience of social climbing, feeling all the solidness of an art at its primordial stages: that of the finest craftsman.

In the same restaurants in France, on the other hand, the gastronomical aspect brings the chef closer to being an artist, and as such no longer tied to craftsmanship but to creativity only.


I love cuisine and the most rewarding part surely is searching for the right materials, discovering new producers, visiting new markets, finding out about new shops and grocery stores opening soon.

Getting to know farmers and breeders is a necessary part in nutrition, since eating is basically internalizing new experiences, even those of other people. My relationship with cuisine is more of a backwards voyage looking for the source of what I'm being given, as if it was a quest for clear water, and if you want to find that you must get to the source.

There should be no room for inventiveness in dishes, not unless who's cooking them wants to be perceived as an artist and in this appropriation of a given title lies the attitude of those chefs I've been talking about earlier.


The nutritional act essentially is an act of research, and it's always been like that, ever since the beginning of times, because man is born a hunter-harvester and the struggle (of research) is then far from eating and feeding, while the act of cooking comes right before that of feeding oneself.


Cooking is a simple concept but it derives from layered experiences: analyzing chance and its enhancement have brought to the current knowledge: it doesn't matter if that means heating at 65°C rather than 100°C, fermenting rather than hanging meat: the point here is that moving from raw to cooked is an intellectual act, direct consequence of the discovering of fire. On the contrary, no one ever taught us how to look for food, that came from a need, the exercise of searching for raw materials, even when that means strolling through the market, is something notably primary, anthropological.


In the dish prepared by Nadia Santini in the restaurant "Dal Pescatore" in Canneto sull'Oglio - which has been appointed with three Michelin stars for twenty-five years now - there's no research, but an endless expertise in setting up well known courses. On the contrary, on Alain Ducasse's table at the Plaza Athénée in Paris we could find products of his own ego only, delicious foods, but nevertheless interpretations of a single man no longer bound to that never-ending chain of men who preceded him in the tradition, the research and the production of raw materials. Just an offspring of his own ego, delicious, but dramatically alone at the same time.


I want a boiled egg, the most humble, the first among all foods. I want to know that that chicken has been tired, exhausted, worn-out running through the yard outdoors in a farm lost in time and in the memory of all those who like me had searched the nest that that bird, unable to fly, has made up on the ground, in a crack in the wall stacking up grass, skinny branches and other stuff.

In that egg I want there to be not just white and yolk, but all those who since the beginnings of time have sought after food and heart in one single gesture.

Materia prima
a solo show by Lucia Leuci curated by /77

Adolfo Pini Foundation, Milan



From May the 18th to July the 14th 2017, the Adolfo Pini Foundation presents Materia prima, a solo show by Lucia Leuci located inside of the glass cabinets found in the house-museum and curated by /77. This project was realized thanks to Adrian Paci’s supervision, who made possible the encounter between the Foundation and /77, two different realities drawn together by the common will to promote young artists.


Lucia Leuci’s approach does not consist only in conceiving her works exclusively for the spaces in this house-museum, but also and mainly in drenching them in the intimate atmosphere, the precise identity and the history of this place.


The glass cabinets are conceived today to preserve and display objects, to create visual connections between different environments. Lucia Leuci does not alter their function, on the contrary she uses their aesthetic to present a series of sculptures creating an unitary installation.


The cabinets of what once was the dining room of the house are reimagined as self-sufficient islands in which the artist sets up a new group of sculptures made up of both synthetic and organic materials. The main focus of this process is on the dichotomy between nature and representation of the real, bound together by a gastronomical lexicon.

The dish thus becomes a space on its own, from which a reflection on an humanized aesthetic is born, a personal and positive expression of that kind of food design which has gradually led people away from what should be the most natural of all behaviors: eating.


The history of this house has seen dedication, love and care for details. It’s this precise care for details that is represented in these artworks and these dishes, thought as an artifice. The presence of degradable materials in Lucia Leuci’s sculptures lets time play a significant role in this exhibition, binding each single visit to the Foundation to a precise moment in these artworks' lifespan. This mix is what’s really fundamental in the artist’s research, because of its ability to stimulate a sort of visceral relationship with the artwork and to give the viewer memories of a past that’s not only visual but also tactile and emotional.

The dish compositions were made in collaboration with Sara Nicolosi.



Riso primavera, 2017

Porcelain, resin, pigment, rice, butter, beehive, honey, flowers, buds, insects

Ø 30 x 7 cm


La battaglia degli scampi, 2017

Porcelain,, resin, pigment, spaghetti, squid ink, quail bones, beet essence

62 x 30 x 25 cm


Tramonto lagunare (acqua salmastra), 2017

Porcelain, resin, pigment, squid, purple cabbage essence, baking soda, glucose, insects

Ø 30 x 7 cm



Lucia Leuci
Notturno con eclissi, 2017
Porcelain, resin, pigment, tripe, flounder's skin, licorice powder, insects
Ø 33 x 5 cm