Miralda fused art and interaction in his edible sculptures and landscapes in the 1960s and ’70s and was one of the first artists to create large-scale spectacles and media events in public space. For Project 4 in Sydney he created two installations during September 1973,
, with foods of every colour served to guests at the launch of the new John Kaldor Fabricmaker showrooms. The works were like nothing audiences had seen before, combining art and celebration to make edible art events.
Between 1967 and 1971, Miralda collaborated with his then wife Dorothée Selz, making their debut as Traiteurs coloristes
(Colourist caterers) in 1970 by turning a Paris gallery into a restaurant and serving Dinner en quatre couleurs
(Dinner in four colours). Miralda and Selz had created their first open-air event in collaboration with other artists in Oise, France, in 1969. Memorial
, a purple and black banquet of borscht, black fish and purple rice was staged on All Souls Day and accompanied by ceremonial events and music. One of their first large-scale multi-coloured events was Rituel en quatre couleurs
at the 1971 Biennale of Paris, where loaves of bread, heads of cauliflower, cobs of corn and piles of rice were dyed bright red, yellow, green and blue. Stacked and arranged on a vast table they appeared like a carnival display and were served to guests by masked figures each dressed in a single colour.
In 1972 Miralda moved to New York and, working alone, his events and buffets became increasingly elaborate in extent and arrangement. Living with fellow artist Antoni Muntadas on Broadway, he became friends with Christo and Jeanne-Claude and met John Kaldor at their apartment in 1972. Kaldor had recently commissioned Australian artist Mike Kitching to create his new fabric showrooms in Surry Hills, Sydney, and he invited Miralda to create a feast for the opening. Three hundred guests experienced Coloured feast
on 18 September at the showrooms’ launch. Miralda covered an enormous tiered table in a patchwork display of colours inspired by John Kaldor fabrics. The cold buffet included aspics, salads and canapés in a vast array of patterns, textures and colours, stacked to the very edges of the table.
One of the guests, Daniel Thomas, senior curator of the Art Gallery of New South Wales at the time, arranged for Miralda to present a new work at the gallery as a part of Project 4. The resulting display, Coloured bread
, was an 8.5 metre-long table of dyed breads, created with local bakers and displayed in the gallery’s entrance court. Arranged in rows along a banquet table, covered in white cloth, there were green, red, blue and yellow plaited breads, horseshoe rolls and wreaths in pink and green, and sliced square and round loaves in multi-colours. Sandra McGrath described it in The Australian
(29 Sept 1973) as ‘a splendid spectacle that is truly a feast of forms, colour and texture’.
This text is an edited excerpt from the publication 40 Years: Kaldor Public Art Projects