“Food and art were the two elements in my life that were always there,” explains Ulrich Krauss, the founder of the Berlin food project space Zagreus Projekt. “I grew up in a butcher shop and I studied art.” He went on to apprentice as a chef, spending time cooking at a fancy hotel in southern Germany. “When you are in that world, it is so restricted, and you have rules for everything,” Krauss says. “It’s a very narrow world, so I got the feeling I had to escape from that.” Krauss left for Berlin, where he balanced artmaking—mostly performances—with cooking in restaurants. “I have to found a place where I bring things together,” he remembers thinking of his double life. Zagreus Projekt took shape.
Its first iteration found a home in the backroom of Galerie Markus Richter, a space for conceptual and minimal art that shuttered in 2005. Since then, Zagreus Projekt, which Krauss is careful to point out is not a gallery, has relocated to the elegant Mitte district. Artists bring ideas for exhibitions that in some way relate back to food, and a collaboration ensues to devise a menu that matches. FOOD ART, a collaboration that launches April 8th, pairs the talents of the artist-turned-chef with a Swiss-German artist couple, Hendrikje Kühne and Beat Klein, who make elaborate, three-dimensional collage sculptures, often including images of food and fragments of advertising and newspapers. “With every exhibition we do here, we have a different point of view on food or on the situation of eating, and that is the most important thing,” Krauss explains. But the demands of the project, 16 years on, are not without their toll. “I don’t see myself as an artist anymore,” says Krauss. “I see myself as a chef.”