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Sticky Business – The Temptation of Sugar in Art

Sugar in the morning, sugar in the evening, sugar at supper time! I don’t have much of a sweet tooth normally but I thought it would be interesting to check out the new Sticky Business exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum Schiedam anyway. You see, sugar is making a bit of a comeback. It is still frightfully unhealthy mind you! But when enjoyed in moderation, sugar is great to celebrate special moments with. And no, there is absolutely no cognitive dissonance to see here people, so just move along!

Sticky Business is an exhibition full of contradictions – and that is exactly the way its curator, food designer Marije Vogelzang, intended it to be. Think about it: Sugar really lives in a world of extremes. It has one foot in cruel exploitation with a long history of slavery attached to it. And it has another foot in the sweetest memories of our childhood. Thought-provoking stuff, I know. Now I don’t want to give away everything I’ve seen at the opening of Sticky Business. I really think you check it our for yourself. I would, however, like to share with you some of my personal favorites and a bit of an ooh la la sploshing video at the end of this blogpost.

You can visit Sticky Business until February 18, 2018 at the Stedelijk Museum Schiedam.

Sticky Business! Pip and Pop installation at the Stedelijk Museum Schiedam Sticky Business! Pip and Pop installation at the Stedelijk Museum Schiedam Sticky Business! Pip and Pop installation at the Stedelijk Museum Schiedam

Talk about a great opening! Visitors to Sticky Business are greeted by this giant site specific sugar mountain by Pip and Pop – so great to finally see their work in real life after having blogged about it years ago. 

Sticky Business! Lickable art by Joseph Marr at the Stedelijk Museum Schiedam

If you feel the uncontrollable urge to lick one of the four Joseph Marr statues at Sticky Business, then you’re in luck! I asked the museum guard if anyone had actually licked them. Quite a few people, as a mater of fact! 

Sticky Business! Revolver candy by Marije Vogelzang at the Stedelijk Museum Schiedam Sticky Business! Revolver candy by Marije Vogelzang at the Stedelijk Museum Schiedam

These sugar revolvers were designed by Marije Vogelzang herself. I found out later that you can actually buy them at the museum shop and I might just take the tram back to Schiedam to get one. 

Sticky Business! Thought-provoking chocolate self-portraits at the Stedelijk Museum Schiedam Sticky Business! Thought-provoking chocolate self-portraits at the Stedelijk Museum Schiedam

Chocolate is not necessarily cruelty free – and that is the bitter truth. Renzo Martens has transformed chocolate into a sculptural material and asked cocoa plantation worker Mubuku Kipala to create a self-portrait. After some Googling, I found out that another self-portait by Daniel Manenga can actually be bought online.  Imagine eating it! 

Sticky Business! Beeswax stagalmite by Driessens & Verstappen at the Stedelijk Museum Schiedam

Drip, drip, drip. Driessens & Verstappen are creating beeswax stalagmites that grow as time passes. Should be interesting to see them again in a few weeks time! I find it fascinating to see how many designers are working with themes revolving around the passage of time. 

Sticky Business! Caramelized sugar wall piece by Jonas Etter at the Stedelijk Museum Schiedam Sticky Business! Caramelized sugar wall piece by Jonas Etter at the Stedelijk Museum Schiedam Sticky Business! Caramelized sugar wall piece by Jonas Etter at the Stedelijk Museum Schiedam

This wallpiece by Jonas Etter was my personal favorite. The freshly caramelized sugar looked so smooth as it dripped from the painting onto the floor. I was lucky enough to talk to the artist himself for a few minutes and asked him to pose in front of his work. 

Sticky Business NSFW Sploshing

And then…I thought long and hard whether or not I should embed this video, but then I figured why the hell not? I never knew sitting naked on a cake was a party thing, but I guess it takes all kinds. Love it or hate it, you definitely have to see this sploshing video by Bompas & Parr from the United Kingdom.

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