Food has long been the subject of works of art. In recent times, artists have also examined eating behaviours and the mechanisms of consumption as a way to comment on contemporary society. From artworks that explore the materiality of foodstuffs to creative provocations that test the boundaries of good taste and revulsion, the exhibition Gut Instinct: Art, Food and Feeling draws on cutting edge research by neuroscientist Professor John Cryan and his colleagues at the APC Microbiome Institute at University College Cork, to explore how digestion relates to our mental and emotional states. In this lecture, Fiona Kearney will discuss the exhibition Gut Instinct: Art, Food and Feeling and consider how art has envisioned and explored the importance of the gut / brain axis, and emphasised the embodied self as critical to emotional and mental well-being.
Fiona Kearney is the founding Director of the Glucksman, a purpose-built contemporary art museum, and a cultural and educational institution that promotes the research, creation and exploration of the visual arts. In this position, she has curated numerous exhibitions of Irish and international art, with a particular emphasis on how contemporary art practice relates to research directions within University College Cork. Recent exhibitions include Gut Instinct: Art, Food and Feeling; 2116: Forecast of the next century, Boolean Expressions: Contemporary art and mathematical data, Stitch in Time: the fabric of contemporary life, and Folly: Art after Architecture. Throughout her academic and professional career, Kearney has received several distinguished awards including the designation of college scholar by UCC, the NUI Prix d'Honneur from the French Government, a UCC President’s Award for Research on Innovative Forms of Teaching and the Jerome Hynes Fellowship on the Clore Leadership Programme. From 2009-2014, she served as a member of the Arts Council of Ireland and she is currently a board member of the Irish Architecture Foundation, VISUAL Carlow, and Cork Midsummer Festival. She is a member of the Irish Museums Association, ICOM, IKT, Universeum, and AICA.