A utopia on a tablecloth, an island of calm and rest in the middle of a rough sea of opposing currents – our contemporary urban lives – the picnic lends form and life to a theater of food and gestures. Open like an arch, it becomes a raft and a sunny drift. Goodbye navigation codes, far from fashions and standards, it proposes, at first, to become the temporary place of freedom and culinary sprains.
Cubes of melted cheese wrapped in aluminum printed with riddles, candy sticks good spirit, crisps with insane artificial flavors: in the shadow of society, the fennel salad with orange, concocted with respect for short circuits and the cycle of the seasons, the time of a stolen afternoon coexists with culinary heresies of dubious, if not criminal, composition.
Without waiting long, the small group will set up the distribution of flavors and will already organize the future collection of waste and used utensils. Cutlery in the Tupperware, leftovers in the salad bowl, please help yourself. But, very quickly, recklessness helping, the unexpected gets involved. Glasses break or spill, a cigarette lands where it shouldn’t. But nothing is serious, all these odds contribute to valuing the present time. Don’t call it disorder, on the contrary it’s life, the wicker basket of Lunch on the Grass, painted by Manet, had itself tipped over, remarked a guest.
Serve others, cut this, spread that, pass, ask: the picnicker spends a significant part of his time relaying the gestures of the other, as if inside a chain. This Taylorian organization does not happen either without an encounter with nature. And a new gallery of gestures and behaviors opens up. We lie down, we undress, we swap codes that no longer make sense to better refocus on the community.
These picnic outings, like holidays, hikes or spiritual retreats, enrich the range of forms and expressions of our fugues. Going away, dreaming of never leaving again, but always ending up coming back, recharged by those joyful, furtive and shared moments of drift that we would like to make last forever.