A Scottish artist named Anya Gallaccio melted 90 pounds of 70-percent cocoa dark chocolate and painted cardboard segments fitted to the walls of a room in Edinburgh’s Jupiter Artland sculpture garden. She calls the exhibit, “Stroke,” and invited guests to interact with the chocolate-coated room that will remain open through mid-July. While the walls are entirely “lickable” and deemed “edible,” Gallaccio emphasizes that the purpose of “Stroke” is to encite more than just your five senses.
“There are so many associations we have with many of the materials we use,” explained Gallaccio in a video on her exhibit. “The chocolate piece can be a purely sensual piece. It can be a social piece, or maybe a political piece, depending on your relationship to food, to chocolate, to pleasure. The audience is a very active part of it — the work isn’t going to jump up and down and entertain you, but at the same time, the more you engage with it, the more you look — the more that happens in this space.”
Gallaccio previously introduced a version of “Stroke” to the Blum & Poe gallery in Santa Monica in 1994. While the environment that “Stroke” was built in was slightly different, the artist’s intent for the piece remains similar: “Feminist in material, natural in its decay, subversively Freudian.”
“For me the piece is more about desire and anticipation than really being in the room,” continued Gallaccio. “And I think so much the way we live our lives is more about some idea we have in our head or some memory. For me, that’s really important — in that the idea of a chocolate room is one thing, and the reality of a chocolate room is very much something else.”
According to Gallaccio, guests are welcomed to interact with the piece however they see fit (yes, this includes licking), but noted that children tend not to like dark chocolate, and any adults who do may be put off by the insects attracted to the walls.
“I think Scottish people are a bit too hygiene concerned to really take the full opportunity of engaging [and] indulging in that space,” said Gallaccio.
h/t Business InsiderRachel Raczka can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tweet her @rachelraczka.