Gut instinct: Irish art exhibition explores food, mood & the ‘psychobiome’

By Shane STARLING contact

- Last updated on GMT

Wall of browned: 'Gut Instinct is a very novel collaboration, which challenges us to think differently about how we respond emotionally at a sensory and visceral level and reminds us that our state of gut will affect our state of mind.' ©Lewis Glucksman Gallery
Wall of browned: 'Gut Instinct is a very novel collaboration, which challenges us to think differently about how we respond emotionally at a sensory and visceral level and reminds us that our state of gut will affect our state of mind.' ©Lewis Glucksman Gallery
Irish microbiome scientists have helped curate an Irish art exhibition exploring the influence of food on mood, informed by mounting science around the gut-brain axis.

“There has always been a lot of terminology about the gut – gut instinct, gut wrenching etc – but it is only recently that the link between the gut and the brain and mood is being proven to be true – so this exhibition is a celebration of that,”​ the director of the Lewis Glucksman Gallery at University College Cork (UCC), Fiona Kearney, told us [pictured above].

Exhibits include a giant 9x3 metre wall of Nutella, fermenting objects, plasters embedded with supplements and installations including a film of an artist forcing herself to eat a large raw onion in four minutes.

Professor John Cryan [pictured above], chair of Anatomy and Neuroscience and working with the APC Microbiome Institute​ at UCC, and someone who leads the world in ‘psychobiotic’ research, is one of the curators of Gut Instinct: Art, food and feeling​, which opened yesterday.

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Siobhan McGibbon - The Cell That Consumed Me. 'Microbes merging with simplified human forms.'

“In neuroscience and medicine, we’re conditioned to think of only what is happening above the neck in terms of the regulation of our emotions,”​ said professor Cryan, whose work has investigated the impact of nutrients like prebiotics and probiotics on the microbiome and brain function.

“This is changing. Ground-breaking research, including that being carried out in the APC Microbiome Institute in UCC, is literally turning this concept upside down.”

GrandDame-abigailobrien
Abigail O'Brien - Grand Dame. 'Images of kneading and baking dough are named after her female artistic peers.'

He added: “We’re beginning to fully realise the importance that gut function and the food we eat have on our mental well-being. Gut Instinct is a very novel collaboration, which challenges us to think differently about how we respond emotionally at a sensory and visceral level and reminds us that our state of gut will affect our state of mind.”

ThomasRentmeister-nutella9x3
Thomas Rentmeister - Untitled, nutella on chipboard. 'We encounter a vast, painted field of densely textured Nutella spread.'

“A painting made of Nutella might seem like a strange thing to hang in an art gallery, but artists respond instinctively to the world around them and the exhibition Gut Instinct brings together artworks that give tasty, if unusual, form to the ground-breaking ideas of John Cryan and his colleagues at APC,”​ said Kearney. Gallery visitors can enter a competition to guess how many kilograms of Nutella had been used on the giant chocolate spread.

EErkran-lotus
Elif Erkan - Taken Care Of (Lotus Eater - Shelter Piece). [Materials: wheat grass, omega 3, St John's wort, plaster]
Marinaobramovic-theonion
Marina Abramovic - The Onion. 'The artist eats a raw onion while recounting a litany of complaints, as the camera offers an unflinching portrayal of her discomfort and disgust.'
SAlhauser-cabinet
Sonja Alhauser - Drei Wünsche frei. 'Portrayals of feasts and harvests, figures and foodstuffs considers the importance of how we eat for our mental and bodily states.'

Gut Instinct: Art, food and feeling​ is open for consumption until 19 March 2017.

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1 comment

Wow

Posted by Sue,

Very interesting, odd, imaginative. I love the cross over between disciplines!

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