PREVIEW: Ulla von Brandenburg: Sweet Feast, Whitechapel Gallery

From the 20th September, the Whitechapel Gallery will present Sweet Feast, a new commission by artist Ulla von Brandenburg. 

This is not the first exhibition that children will devour at the Whitechapel Gallery. In 1973 an enticing exhibition featuring hundreds of types of sweets was staged to celebrate the UK’s entry to the European Common Market. It was brought to an abrupt end when it was unexpectedly eaten by local schoolchildren. This year the extraordinary event is recreated against a background of Britain’s impending departure from the European Union in 2019.

Sweet Treat is set to feature a new film screened for six months in the ground floor gallery, with visitors invited to take a seat and watch on a large, colourful structure designed by the artist.

The historic exhibition Sweets was Whitechapel Gallery’s contribution to the ‘Fanfare for Europe’ celebrations. The irresistible display of confectionary from European Common Market members included Belgian chocolate coins, French lollipops shaped as the Eiffel Tower, gummy mice from Germany, coffee-flavoured Hopjes from Holland, Italian marzipan fruits, salty licorice from Denmark, Irish mints and toffee from Yorkshire. According to archive records on 28 January 1973, the last day of the exhibition, 500 children visited to learn about sweets as popular art. The children were invited to sample specially selected candies donated by some of the manufacturers. In their enthusiasm, they overwhelmed the only guard on duty and devoured all the displays.

Now, artist Ulla Von Brandenburg has recorded a re-staging of this event and includes a song co-written by the children of the local local primary school Arnhem Wharf and the artist.

Ulla von Brandenburg: Sweet Feast will be on display at the Whitechapel Gallery from the 20th September until the 31st March 2019. For more information visit:

 Ulla von Brandenburg, Production still from Sweet Feast, 2018, super-16 mm film, colour, sound. Courtesy the artist. 
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