Agape from Cered


CSABA FÜRJESI visual artist

dr. MÁRTA TKACSIK biofarmer, theoretical mathematician, nutrition researcher

event, site-specific installation
ArtColony Cered


video, 22’40

In Search of the Last Supper

It is a generally acknowledged anthropological claim that we could apprehend eating – increasingly throughout the process of our cultural institutions’ formation and the crystallization of their meanings – as a communal act (notably, but not exclusively in the sense of communion), as an organic part of our societies and cultures. The “ritual” ways and acts of gathering to eat together can tell a lot about the norms, values and pursuits shaping our society.

The meaning of the ancient Greek term, agape, is love, hospitality. It is used both to denote the communal eating ceremonies of the early Christians, and the unconditional emotion of the highest order, love calling for deeds. Out of the eight ancient Greek words for love agape signifies only a love which could be learned, trained and willed – self-sacrificing, selfless, emotion. Later on agape’s many meanings included the care and acceptance of the poor, the immigrants and the downtrodden.

The hosts of the Cered agape took a metareflective stance towards the recent role and importance of art, towards the relation and possible connections of life, food and art. One layer of this project draws the attention to the ecologically significant and impactful respects – most prominently the excessive wasting – behind the current Western (and increasingly globalized) trends of food production, transportation and vending. But why is this menu an up-to-date one, which food historians regard to be close to the ‘original one’, and which its creators aimed to craft both tailored to the local conditions and givenness, yet as authentic as possible?

This menu, two thousand year old at least, had transformed into the representation of our fundamental existential problems on the table-cloth – luckily, though, not presented as cheap propaganda, but demonstrating its radicality through its simplicity and modesty, maintaining its capacity all along to avoid being reduced into a banal ecological pamphlet (regardless of how grave the artists themselves consider the importance of environmental consciousness-raising). At the same time both the event / its documentation succeeded to achieve this by not chickening out to ask such questions at face value like:

Is it acceptable that 30% of the food produced ends up as waste, while there are more than 800 million people starving in the world? Isn’t it alarming that in the Global North the number of those described with the label of ‘quality starvation’ – i.e. those consuming many calories, still suffering from malnutrition – reached one billion? The table of the agape offered itself – oft by inviting confrontative contents – at the open horizon of aesthetic reception, in the hope of a more conscious way of living.

This reception, though, is a layered one, given that we could appreciate the work of art as an event, since it could not be consumed in the frames of open temporality by any spectator – as contrasted to the actually invited guests, who had experienced the Agape from Cered as an event-like, once-only form of reality. Important to note that the guests did not play roles, they simply accommodated the situation, thus creating new content for and in the familiar form.

From this perspective, the artwork tried to comprehend thoroughly the following question in a much convivial manner: What amount of resistance such a humble, intimate project – locally relating to the universal – might be capable of in the global social field? For we could interpret it as a site-specific installation – however, as one that quietly emphasizes all along that art has no permanent, canonical, only ceremonial places and spaces.

The artists chose a triptichon as the final form of the video-documentation. Though the videos could be watched and appreciated separately, they are in a substantial conversation, presupposing each other. The first one from the left presents the supper from above, the middle one shows it frontally, while the last one opens up a fictive dimension: from behind the table, in synchrony with the story running on the other screens, 8 times roses the thirteenth guest, in the form of Jesus’s pseudobody.

The Agape from Cered refers to the archaic role of art, and reflects on the ritualistic and religious possibilities of communicating with the transcendent world, the deity from a contemporary perspective. At the same time, it demonstrates the dialectical order of connections analyzing the actual characteristics of the relations between men and world coming to the front increasingly from the Renaissance. The site-specific and eco-conscious aspect of the project actualizes one of the most prominent viewpoints of this period: the physical situation of men governed by the deity.

However, the artists actually chose the simplest and most ordinary method to examine men’s relation to the world – both regarding the venue and the most fundamental needs and activities: the work conceptualizing agape as the paradigm for social togetherness was interested in what reactions the event triggers in the participants, what relations it creates among the invitees.

In order to duly grasp the essence of this project moving on conceptual/definitional borderlines, we should leave behind the closed understanding of art methods. Recently, the participation of the spectator has become a widely accepted element of art practices in discourses recognizing the traditions of happening and performance. In the same way, the participants of the agape, and the spectators of the video-tripthichon could identify their individual reactions, relations, and the conclusions to be drawn through their own approach and reception.

Perhaps the most exciting and important feature of this work lies in its openness and transitivity. We could comprehend the – visual and intellectual – adaptational attempt, the menu reproduced at Cered, the minimally orchestrated conduct, consumption, the documentation and the resulting video-installation of the last supper as an open form of art’s never-ending discursivity, of dissemination’s never-satisfying desire.


  1. Salad from dried beans with fermented vegetables

 Ingredients for 12 persons:

  • 0,5 kg dried beans
  • 4-6 bayleaves
  • Dried or fresh thyme and oregano
  • 5 purple onions, sliced thinly
  • 2,5 dl of red wine vinegar
  • 1 spoons of honey
  • 0,75 kg fermented cucumbers, chopped into small pieces
  • Salt, pepper
  • 3-4 dl of olive oil


Soak the beans for 24 hours, pour the soaking water 2-3 times out and add fresh one. Cook the beans in plenty of water with bayleaves. When the beans is gentle, soak all the water off. Add salt and 3 dl of olive oil and mix. Leave to cool. Slice purple onion thinly, add  the vinegar, honey  and 1 dl of olive oil into. Salt and pepper. Mature the oinion at least for one night. Slice the fermented cucumber into small cubes. After the onion is mature, mix the beans, onion, cucumber  and fresh or died herbs together.

2. Slow roasted lamb with rosemary

Ingredients for 12 persons:

  • 3 kg lamb with bones
  • 4-6 rosemary branch
  • 2-3 purple onions
  • 10-12 clove of garlic
  • 1 bottle of white dry wine
  • 4-5 spoons of olive oil
  • Ras el Hanout spice (or mix of coriander, nutmeg, turmeric, cardamon, ginger, black and white pepper)
  • Salt


Flavour, salt and pepper the lamb properly. Add all ingredients into a pan, together with wine. Stew the lamb very gently for about three hours at 130-140 C, or until it is found to be extremely tender. A little before the end of this time, grill the meat golden. Serve the sauce separately.

3. Bitter green salad with nuts and local herbs

Ingredients for 12 persons:

  • Mixed green salad leaves
  • Seasonal local herbs (dandelion, oxalis, milfoil, portulaca, stellaria, etc.), preferably some bitter included
  • 6 dl of olive oil
  • 3 dl of apple or wine vinegar
  • 100 g pine nuts
  • 100 g peanuts
  • Salt, pepper


Wash all green leaves properly and let them to dry.  Prepare vinaigrette from oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Roast pine nuts and peanuts gently. Slice them into small pieces. Serve green salad with vinaigrette and roasted nuts on the top.

4. Charoset- traditional sweety from dried fruits and nuts

Ingredients for 12 persons:

  • 50 dkg nuts
  • 20 dkg almonds
  • 20 dkg dried dates
  • 10 dkg dried apples
  • 20 dkg dried apricots
  • 10 dkg raisins
  • 1 kg fresh figs
  • 0,5 kg fresh apples
  • 0,75 l  red wine
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 non-treated lemons (peel and juice)
  • 2 spoons of honey
  • salt


Slice all dried and fresh fruits into small pieces. Reduce the red wine, together with honey and cinnamon sticks to approximately 1 dcl, by hetaing. Add lemon peel and juicece from 3 lemons. Add the reduced spicy wine, pinch of salt and mix all together.

5. Red wine