Nothing makes you linger over an exhibition quite like eating dinner in its presence. Such was the theory of The Cob Gallery when it launched the first instalment of a series of conceptual dinners in London last night, watched over by Walter Hugo's dark, shadowy nudes. Nibbling on squid quavers and guinea fowl popcorn, we had ample time to admire the artistry of his forms.
The Cob Gallery is a new gallery-cum-studio opened by young play-write Polly Stenham and gallery director, Victoria Williams in February on an unassuming side street in Camden. Designed by Llowarch Llowarch Architects, it aims to be a springboard for emerging artists like Hugo, who creates his works using a self-coined 'photographic fresco' technique. Applying his deliberately over-exposed images onto wall fragments salvaged from his studio, he creates a series of eerie, textured and smudged forms that look as if they are emerging from the shadows.
The evening's inventive menu came courtesy of chef Daniel Morgan (formerly of the Ritz, Maze and The Square). Setting up camp in the gallery, he concocted a light selection of culinary surprises, including watermelon tartare with honeydew yolk, and 'deconstructed' Waldorf salad, with celery milk pannacotta, raisin purée and walnut granola. To leave us feeling fresh, he rounded things off with his own specially devised apple chewing gum.
Stenham plans to host two more dinners this week, followed by one at the start of each new exhibition, as a means to encourage people to interact with the gallery's artworks in a relaxed environment. 'We are always looking to do different things to help people view art in new ways and we hope this is going to be one of them,' she says. Hosting up to 24 people, the next dinners will take place on Friday the 4th and Saturday the 5th of November, and will be open for bookings at £40 a head, with a welcome glass of Prosecco.