The artist Maurizio Savini has created a series of sculptures from chewed bubblegum including a buffalo and a bear, which have been shown at Testori UK Gallery, London.Maurizio Savini’s intricate works are created using thousands of pieces of the bright pink gum, and have sold for as much as £40,000 each.
Savini, 39, has been using the unusual material, known in his native Italy as ‘American Gum’ after it arrived during World War II, for the past 10 years. His sticky sculptures have been exhibited all over the world, including London, Edinburgh, Rome and Berlin, where they have sold for as much.
The artist, based in Rome, said: “The reason I like to use chewing gum is because it seemed to me an amazingly versatile material compared to those used by the traditional arts such as painting. Despite its history of it belonging to popular culture, chewing gum does not have a statute of its own within institutional art. I believe that in my work on this material is redeemed and acquires a capacity and it has an expressive dignity of its own. I work the chewing gum when it is warm and manipulate it with a knife just like some traditional material like clay. The most important step is the fixing of the sculptures with formaldehyde and antibiotic.”
Art critic Mario Codognato, from Pastificio Cerere gallery, Italy, said Savini’s gum sculptures embodied the essence of youth. He wrote: “Maurizio’s work reminds of the sensual act of chewing, the voluptuous warmth of rebelling saliva, the artificial and secretly aseptic fragrance which spreads from the mouth as a promise and missed kiss. Applying all this to the power and energy of the sculpture and its history causes a short circuit having the capacity of turning the lucid into stately and vice versa.”