Amsterdam artists experiment with edible skincare

Amsterdam artists experiment with edible skincare

Image by Anisa Xhomaqi   


The creative little city that’s Amsterdam has a quirky art scene, tolerant and out-of-the-box culture, and a thriving community that holds sustainability near and dear. Beauty may come secondary to the ethos of the people here, but female artists Margherita Soldati, Krisztina Czika, and Alice Heron recently explored the intersection of art, beauty and food during a four-night pop-up dinner at Mediamatic. Part of the Neo Futurist Dinner series, which explores the future of food, the three artists explored the idea of natural beauty products paired with eight-courses of vegan dishes. The result was intriguing and thought-provoking. Dishes included a miso ginger soup and facial steam, herbed oil applied to the face with bread sponges (and then eaten), and fruit leather lip and eye masks to be eaten with roasted radicchio. We sat down with Margherita, Krisztina and Alice to find out more about their incredible beauty experiment. 


Image by Anisa Xhomaqi   


Can you tell a bit about your work as artists?

Margherita: I focus on tactility and how I can stimulate people’s brains, instincts and emotions through the sense of touch. This brings me to explore different aspects of ‘human life’ - from creating tactile textile structures to alter standard architectural elements, to creating tactile organic shapes with plastic waste to convey messages about this issue or, like in this case, to working with food.

Krisztina: I am highly focused on waste materials and new materials developed from waste. I believe that material has social, environmental and even a political place in our society. I am keen on understanding these aspects to find alternative ways of using materials. 

Alice: I am fascinated by growth and work mostly with organic shapes. I created large size installations that take over different spaces. For me, it’s important to underline the strength and intelligence of natural design within my work. 


Why are beauty and skincare important to you? 

A: I prefer to think of self-care more than beauty because I feel quite uncomfortable with all the beauty standards. I enjoy a more ‘natural look’. For me, skincare is taking care of an organ - getting to know this organ is getting to know yourself and others a bit better. 

M: I don’t think beauty is important, but skincare is. I don’t use any cream or beauty products because I want to know exactly what I am giving to my skin. Beautiful skin means being aware of what we put on it. 

K: Beauty is to me either. Skincare, on the other hand, is part of my daily routine - even if it’s just washing my face in the morning. Travel and weather changes caused some skin issues so I started to research how to deal with it the most natural way. I need to know what I put on my skin and why and I truly believe it should be the case for everyone.


Image by Anisa Xhomaqi 


Why did you decide to get involved with Mediamatic’s Neo Futuristic Dinners?

M: Krisztina and I designed a Beauty Lunch for a project in Hungary in July 2019. We explored old projects of ours to combine them. The experience was fun and we both saw the potential to create a better and more detailed experience and repropose it in Amsterdam.

A: Krisztina and Margherita worked on a few edible masks and when saw the pictures I immediately fell in love with the concept. I was thrilled when they asked me to participate because I am working in restaurants for a few years and the Neo Futuristic Dinner is the perfect way to merge my art and design practice with my cooking. 


Image by Anisa Xhomaqi  


What are you trying to say with the dinner? - To you what’s the relation between food, art and beauty?

K: I truly believe that anything you use on your skin should also be able to consume. So for me, the relationship is very simple and practical - since we all have to take care of our skin and stomach, why not combine the two?

A: I want people to be intrigued by food and have as much fun eating as I am having while working on the project. I think we should all be aware as consumers of what we put on our face as much as what is in our food. 

M: It is interesting to explore how food can be used and applied in different ways and different parts of the body and push certain boundaries by creating new rituals around the dining experience. 


What questions do you hope diners will walk away with?

M: I hope people see that there are different ways to take care of their skin and that they can take care of their skin by simply eating healthy products. We promoted skincare from the inside out during the dinner.

K: I hope they walk away with questions like ‘how can I make my own cosmetics?’ and ‘what does my skin need to be healthy?’.

A: I hope that diners reflect on their consumption of beauty products. I hope they ask themselves if they need fancy expensive and industrially-made face creams or is there something natural that reflects their ethos better? And most of all, I hope that people dare to experiment in the kitchen, learn more about ingredients and their benefits, make something tasty and healthy. 


Image by Anisa Xhomaqi   


Has this experiment raised more questions for you as an artist? What are you going to be exploring next?

M: It was very interesting for me to research the relationship between food and skincare. It was interesting to discover the properties of ingredient and design food props like bread sponges and pasta patches. Mostly, I was intrigued by the public’s response as I was very curious to see how they would react. Would they use a syringe containing edible charcoal masks and were people going to eat the bread sponge after having it used to apply oil on their face? They did! Therefore, if we will design a second edition, I would want to focus more on the food props.

K: I would like to experiment more with other ingredients for a summer edition of the Beauty Dinner. It was interesting to realise that I could work with food waste to create conceptual design and artworks. Fruit leather and sugar wax were so amazing to work with and they have so much more potential that I would like to explore. Not to mention the fact that they are biodegradable!

A: This project has proven that there are so many possibilities in using food as an art material. For me it’s important to think about seasonality and the potential of a summer edition is exciting! The beauty dinner made it obvious to me that cooking for someone is caring for someone and I want to work further with this awareness. I would also like to explore the idea of a dinner in a more sculptural way and work on edible objects. 

 By Marisse Gabrielle Reyes

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