Bompas & Parr to expose the darker side of food storage

Culinary architects Bompas & Parr are staging an exhibition exploring how fridges can kill as well as conserve food.

Fridges: hidden threat
Fridges: hidden threat

Curated by the British Museum of Food, which was founded by Bompas & Parr, the new exhibition, called Fridges Fight Back: a Chilling Exhibition, highlights how fridges are under-recognised as a cause of fires that can destroy homes and kill people every year.

It launches at the beginning of November for a month and marks the first exhibition by the British Museum of Food since its Borough Market pop-up.

An accompanying booklet, Fridges Fight Back: The White Goods are Restless by Bompas & Parr, examines the facts against the context of fridges at the centre of home life. 

The exhibition and booklet cheekily subvert the iconic status that fridges have attained in recent years, having become socially desirable, indicators of wealth and revered in modern kitchens. They are no longer hidden behind cupboard fascias but assume pride of place as the most monolithic and aspirational of white goods. 

They also serve as an antidote to the polished pictures of food that permeate modern culture in everything from Instagram to the contrived contents of celebrities’ fridges on programmes like MTV Cribs.

The booklet and exhibition will be launched on 31 October at KK Outlet gallery in Hoxton Square, Shoreditch and will feature a number of refrigeration-inspired exhibits.

Artworks will include bacteria bred from the fridges of celebrities and filmed content depicting the deterioration of food and drink inside and out of fridges. The exhibition will also feature a community fridge, allowing locals to deposit food and drink that will be shared with local charities and food banks. 

At its heart, the curation and the booklet are designed to bring to life an important safety message about fridges. Written with the consultancy and advice of London Fire Brigade, the booklet exposes the shocking statistics relating to fridge fires – on average there are two per week in London – and the basic manufacturing flaws common to some brands that can cause fires.

For Bompas & Parr, the issue represents an examination of unexplored areas of food. Harry Parr, partner of Bompas & Parr, said: "Fridges are perceived as some kind of friendly electric device that will never betray us – we leave them switched on when we go on holiday even when we turn off the toaster at the wall. But the simple truth is that fridges can be dangerous too, and while they are a central part of our lives, and an embodiment of our economic sophistication, nutrition and health, it’s clear we should re-evaluate their role and be cognisant of the fact that they can fail and case damage and death."

Bompas & Parr most recently worked on the world's first supernatural voice installation, as part of the annual arts festival Merge Bankside and on the launch of a museum celebrating sleep

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