Ephemeral figurines, magical bread and other edible toys

To model dough, to transform this vital ingredient into images is as old as wheat itself : its transformation into bread was at the heart of the religious rites of Europeans centuries before Christianity and produced numerous figurative breads which included, notably, the human form. These were evoked in a realistic or metaphorical form, by a simple, abstract mark or even in the phantasmagorical forms of winged women, devils, snake men...

To cook an image in sugar is a technique which appeared later, in the first centuries of our time. As in the case of bread, its roots were above all cultural and, in the main, mysterious.

Is it about incorporating the strength, the gentleness or the divine qualities of the he or she who is represented, to heal or to swallow traces of identity, to extinguish the events of the calendar, or even to cannibalise the collective imagination?

Very few of these edible images, by their very nature ephemeral, have survived. This realm of Art remains unrecognised. However, a few old moulds remain and a few grandmothers here and there in the world continue to offer children these ancient figurines – but for how much longer? – thus keeping the tradition going, amusing them and giving them pleasure despite, or thanks to an atavistic, underlying fear– eat or be eaten

In the exhibition there are several films showing the making of these images and the rituels in different European countries.


Photos Leonid Padrul, Christine Armengaud.



Images of different displays already created and several pieces from the collection, including some moulds – in 36 clicks