Djara Van Hove

Despitable Art

More artists. More chewing gum.

What would you do if a gigantic bubble gum, sticking between 2 buildings, obstructs the passage? Simone Decker, a Frankfurt-based artist, has made this dream or nightmare come true. She created this specific project for the Venice Biennale in 1999. Simone made two series of fifteen color photographs depicting chewing gum sculptures in the urban space of Venice. Although these sticky sculptures seem realistic, it is just a matter of deception. The artist creates an optical illusion by playing with the order of scale and perspective. Each 'sculpture' is built with a real and chewed piece of gum. This subject has been taken out of its original context and placed in a new reality. As if the entire space seems to interfere and is occupied with only one gum. It is unknown whether Simone wants to present the beauty of this alternative material. Or criticize the pollution of the subject.



Simone Decker - Chewing in Venice 1+2 - Source:


Douglas Coupland doesn't mind the gum waste if it can become part of an art piece. This West Coast-based artist and novelist created the 'Gumhead' sculpture, named based on his head-shape. This 2-meter black resin and polyester sculpture stood, almost 5 months in the open air, in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery in 2015. As a true eye-catcher for his exhibition - 'Everywhere is anywhere is anything is everything' -where Douglas displayed more than 100 works. It was all about the research and exploration of issues that concern us all. By using humor Douglas can clearly express his vision of today's modern world, and how it controls our perception and behavior. Gumhead is a sculpture where it is allowed to vandalize it. Spectators were invited to stick their chewing gum on the head of the artist. In which Douglas hands over the artistic process to the public. There was even a gumball machine to encourage the crowd! Where would you stick your gum?



Douglas Coupland - Gumhead - Sources: //


The next artist takes his sculpting to another level. Bubble gum is the material par excellence for Maurizio Savini to create life-sized sculptures. Each sculpture nearly exists out of 3000 individual pieces of bubble gum. It is a labor-intensive technique of unwrapping, heating, and molding the material into the desired shape. Maurizio applies a layer of chemicals mixture to the sticky surface. So it can be preserved for ages. Pink is an artificial color that is often associated with a fake world. This color enhances his socially critical and political statements he provokes through his work.



Maurizio Savini - Savini Opera 0039 / Chandelier - Source:


Or we can keep it light-hearted like Dan Colen did. This multimedia neo-pop artist is best known for his photorealistic paintings featuring Disney stills. Besides, this artist often experiments with various media such as spray paint, chewing gum, and confetti. Using chewing gum on a canvass alters into an abstract technique of painting. Once Dan seemed to recognize confetti in the colorful bubble gum paintings, which altered a moment of celebration. From then on, he also produced paintings with actual confetti. Do you  think the chewing gum looks better on a canvass than on the pavement? 



Dan Colen - 53RD & 3RD - Source:


The French artist, Jeremy Laffon, stacks, bends and sticks thousands of pale green chewing gum plates together. To build dazzling geometric structures and beautiful patterns. A research where he examines the limitations/ soft options of this interesting yet uncommonly substance through time. Gravity and the conditions of the surrounding will change the form, color, and structure of these complex constructions. 



Jeremy Laffon - Pièce Montée 1 - Source:


Want to explore more of the fantastic(k) world of chewing gum?