Art historian

Samir Boumediene

Samir Boumediene

2021-2022
2021-2022

Born in Moselle in 1985, Samir Boumediene is a historian of knowledge and the arts.

A researcher at the CNRS with a doctorate in Modern History, he published his thesis in 2016 under the title La colonisation du savoir. Une histoire des plantes médicinales du Nouveau Monde (The Colonisation of Knowledge. A History of medicinal plants in the New World).

The research project he is conducting at Villa Medici is devoted to an expression: “Time reveals the truth” or “Veritas Filias Temporis”, particularly used in Italian art of the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. By analysing the paintings, engravings, drawings, sculptures and tapestries that evoke this idea, the aim is to understand the importance that the theme of discovery acquires in the cultural, social and political history of the arts. In Italy, this theme is in fact associated with various reflections on the novelty of the times, invention, conflicts between artists and the practice of political secrecy. Through this motto, it is therefore possible to document the Italian contribution to the tensions that have inhabited Europe, between new and old, secrecy and lies, vision of progress and fear of the end.

At the same time, Samir Boumediene is conducting projects at the intersection of culinary and visual arts. As an extension of his research on fermentation practices and the use of spices, he took advantage of his residency in Rome to write a documentary on soffritto.

Also called sofregit in Catalan or sofrito in Castilian, soffritto is the basis of many dishes and sauces in Mediterranean cuisine. Behind the infinite variations, it consists in the combination of a fat and a representative of the genus alium (especially onion, garlic, shallot). Although it has no equivalent in the vocabulary of French cuisine, it plays an equally fundamental role. This is also true of many other cuisines in Asia, Africa and America where, despite the stinging eyes and the risk of injury, the preparation of dishes starts with the cutting of a pungent bulb.

By tracing the history of the soffritto and its recompositions in the age of fusion cuisine, the aim of this documentary is to highlight the attention to the guests that characterizes the culinary gesture and gives so many dishes (risotto, caponata, ratatouille, Catalan sauce, mirepoix sauce, etc.) the essence of their flavour.

 

Image: © Skuli Sigurdsson (MPIWG, Berlin)