In October 2014 I organized “Basilica Chymica,” an exhibition at Hoofprint Workshop, a printmaking studio and exhibition space in Chicago’s historic West Pilsen/Heart of Chicago neighborhood.
“Basilica Chymica” was a collaboration between six visual artists and six chefs, working in pairs to create a synesthetic experience based on the ancient discipline of alchemy. Artists exhibited sketches and state proofs alongside the finished editions.
The Basilica Chymica is a text on alchemy written in 1609 by Oswald Crollius, a German Paracelsian physician during the scientific renaissance. The Renaissance was marked by advances in engineering, chemistry, astronomy, mathematics, and art, and concurred with the invention of widespread printing which allowed for the dissemination of new ideas.
With the rising popularity of chemistry came natural developments in the food. Alchemists strongly believed in archetypal properties of substances. All plants, spices, meat, and animal by-products had their own meanings and qualities. Alchemists were particularly interested in processes such as distilling, fermentation, and preservation, but the transformative properties of food have always been strong from ingredients, preparation, processing, and plating.
Thank you to everyone involved!
Liz Born and Gabe Hoare at Hoofprint Workshop
Our artists: Sanya Glisic, Vanesssa Dellamorte, Vesna Jovanovic, Damara Kaminecki, and Kelly Riker
Our chefs: Hillary Grossman (Avec), Suley Dimas (Soho House), Griffin Benko (Terrace at Trump), Dean Williams (Chez Dean), Sobremesa, and Edible AlchemyOur bartender Mike Zell (Little Goat)
Our sponsors: KOVAL Distillery and Owen + Alchemy
Photographs from the event:
Photographs from production:
Photographs from our VIP event at Chicago’s cold-pressed juice apothecary, Owen + Alchemy: