Bread Head

Saturday, 15 October 2011 – Sunday, 16 October 2011

Harriet Murray

Neil Taylor

Christine Cynn

Valentin Manz

‘Join us in the creation and devouring of this most noble food. For two days we will collectively create a fearsome feast of Bread Heads. Crafted faces of dreams or nightmares baked in our bespoke wood oven and displayed for a few hours among the detritus of their making.

Break bread with friends and strangers on Sunday 16th, 4pm onwards, for an evening as bacchanalian or puritan as you choose. Bring cheese, wine and a small jar for some ‘Mother’ sourdough starter’.

Project made possible with generous support from Shipton Mill


A ‘bread head’ is someone who is obsessed with the monetary cost of things, but the term also implies that this sort of valuation is wrong-headed, that there ought to be a brain rather than a bap between one’s ears. The real costs of the things we consume and the real value of our time are perhaps distorted at the cash register. While making bread heads for consumption, this exhibition will raise questions about what values and meanings are invested in the food we eat, both personally and as a society.

Bread has been around since around 8000 BC and yet many of us have lost the art of making it. Breadhead is a hands-on creative project where the gallery will be transformed into a working bakery, enabling you to ‘Use your loaf’ and engage in an intimate and yet complex way with both the physical and political aspects of bread and dough. The smells of fermentation and baking will permeate the air. Visitors are invited to roll up their sleeves and try their hand at kneading, shaping, and baking. At the heart of the process is an appreciation of waiting, natural yeasts are slow and need time to digest the flour and multiply. Time creates flavour and complexity. Images created by traces of flour and dough left on aprons and table surfaces will be displayed to mark the passage of time, and as we wait, we connect to the magic of basic things, things we often take for granted, like rising bread. The loaves will be baked in a mobile home built a wood-fired oven in the street outside the gallery; the finale being a feast of freshly baked bread sculptures.

Bread Head is a collaboration between artists Valentin Manz, Christine Cynn, Neil Taylor and Harriet Murray. Manz and Cynn have, for the last 9 years, been making a rye sourdough inspired by the small village bakery near Valentin’s family home in southeastern Bavaria. It is this passion and knowledge that has formed the inspiration for this project.

Artist/curator Harriet Murray has been creating ambitious interactive and collaborative projects for the past 10 years, weaving a route through the commercial, experimental, and public realms. She has worked and exhibited across London, Vienna, Edinburgh, Brighton, Berlin and Potsdam. Murray’s work examines the complexities of interpretation, exploring what is inherent within an artwork and what an audience brings to it, so making our own imaginations visible. Her fascination with the intimate relationship between internal and external realities gives her work an uneasy twist, delving to the edges of acceptability and exploring the impossibility of hiding what should perhaps remain hidden. By using everyday objects and familiar subject matter Murray challenges us to look again and re-examine what we thought we knew so well.

Sculptor/ painter/ filmmaker Neil Taylor Lives and works in London and is joint Director of Campbell Works. Taylor works across multiple disciplines, works being formed by projects with an explorative enquiry into socio-political, art historical and religious frameworks. His work encompasses a studio practice, curatorial projects, and public engagement. Previous projects include: Back Packed, Pimp Car, Mind Mine, You Turn and Each Teach. He has recently been involved in projects at Gasworks, London, Arts Depot, London, HWK, Berlin, 400 Women, London, British Museum and Department 21, RCA.

Sculptor/ painter/ performer Valentin Manz creates large-scale, site-specific installation performances out of locally sourced materials. Each performance begins on his first visit to a site and includes the destruction or decay of his creations. Valentin graduated from Central Saint Martin’s College of Art before completing a Masters in Scenography at the Slade School of Fine Art. Valentin also has a Masters in Art Psychotherapy from Goldsmiths University and works as an art therapist for Kids Company children’s charity in London. Having learned bread-making from Christine 9 years ago, Valentin has been making bread every week. His loaves have won enthusiastic acclaim from all consumers.

Filmmaker Christine Cynn has been directing experimental documentaries for the past 13 years. Her work explores emotional resonances hidden in cracks created by political tension. Her filmography spans from a participatory film with Indonesian plantation workers (‘The Globalisation Tapes’- Time Out Critics’ Choice) to infiltrations of paramilitary death squads (‘Free Men’ work-in-progress supported by More4, Arte/ZDF, AHRC, executive producer Errol Morris, produced by Final Cut Productions). She was a founding member of the Vision Machine Film Project collective. While studying film and social anthropology at Harvard University, Christine became passionate about bread-baking and apprenticed with Rene Becker who founded Hi-Rise Bread Company in Cambridge Massachusetts.

Christie Cynn & Valentin Manz are also showing at EarthNowBeing


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