The art of eating

Production Overview

Is Paul Renner an artist of culinary visions? A functionalist and organiser who critically encounters day-to-day life?
Or an artist and provoker of everyday life who in his search for responses looks for the unusual, playing with words and values such as “decadence"?

Alex. Hesse's documentary places Paul Renner in two worlds: he lives with his family in a firmly “bourgeois" setting – a turn-of-the-19th-century hunting lodge in the forests around Bregenz –, yet, together with poets Medlar Lucan and Durian Gray, he uses his performance art projects to implement his unique visionary creations that explore the limits of art.

His art culminated in the “Hellfire Dining Club", a spectacle running for 17 days and nights in the Kunsthalle Project Space at the Vienna Karlsplatz. Paul Renner furnished the space as a melting pot of art, food, alcohol and mystic technology, filled with baroque energy and decadent cuisine. Celebrity cooks (Heino Huber, Joachim Gradwohl, Adi Bittermann) created extravagant dishes, ranging from stomach stuffed with tripe to champagne huchen in a plastic bag, and served them to celebrity guests such as Christian Attersee, Hermann Nitsch (whom Paul Renner had served as assistant for eight years), Ingrid Wiener, etc.

The tranquil images from the forest are interposed with the – in part shocking – performance at the Kunsthalle. The result is a profound insight into the views and creative drive of an unusual, and at times extreme, artist who gets considerable attention and recognition at an international level.


Director: Alex Hesse
Photography: Andreas Gradl, Dietrich Heller
Editor: Alex Dimko
Producer: Heinz Mayer-Moroni
Executive Producer: Rudolf Klingohr
Executive Producer: Karl Pridun

Television Premiere: 23.01.2006