5 things you probably didn′t know could be made into art | High Five | DW | 03.03.2017
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High Five

5 things you probably didn't know could be made into art

Some artists have taken art and recycling to a whole new level. They are working with materials that at first glance don't have much to do with creativity, like pencil lead and even chewing gum.

Anything can be art, no mater how bizarre it is. The Briton Damien Hirst, for example, knows how to create art from the most remarkable things. He once decorated a human skull with diamonds and exhibited it.

The German-Swiss artist Meret Oppenheim was once celebrated for a fur-trimmed cup. Regarding material in art, there is a complete liberty. That also goes for the lesser-known Italian artist Maurizio Savini.

Art made of chewing gum

Savini's sculptures are formed out of a material that is usually found on sidewalks, if not in your mouth: chewing gum. He needs an average of 10 kilograms (around 22 pounds) for his sculptures, which can easily mean thousands of pieces of gum.

But Savini doesn't chew all of them himself. Instead, two assistants unpack the gum, heat the pieces with a hair dryer and knead them into a mass. The artist sticks them on a plaster base.

Savini has been working with the material for more than 10 years, and it has a special cultural significance for him. He sees chewing gum as a symbol of economic growth in post-war Europe and the perfect material to exert social criticism. He also loves to use the particularly artificial color pink.

Difficult material

The high amount of sugar in chewing gum is a challenge for Savini. His first sculptures fell apart after three months because the sugar destroyed the base, and he had to pay back all the money to the buyers.

But Savini has learned from that experience. Now, he preserves his work with aldehyde and antibiotics, but the precise varieties remain his secret.

Have a look at other artists working with unusual materials in the picture gallery above.

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