Maurizio Savini, an Italian artist based in Rome, creates incredibly detailed sculptures made entirely of pink and white chewing gum that hasn’t ever been chewed at any time.
With a process as unique as his aesthetic, Maurizio and his two assistants unwrap then apply heat to thousands of half white, half bright pink bubble gum squares without chewing a single piece, so they can easily be manipulated, cut with a knife, and applied to plaster mold like traditional clay. Maurizio notes, “The mold is crucial” – without it, his tacky sculptures would be far too unstable. After molding the chewing gum into his desired shapes, Maurizio fixes and preserves his sculptures with a mixture of formaldehyde and antibiotics, so his works will be intact for generations of Romans to come. This labor-intensive process at times calls for nearly 3,000 individual pieces of bubble gum per sculpture.
Due to the high sugar content of the gum, Savini found out the hard way that he needed to combine the gum with formaldehyde and antibiotics to allow the sculptures to maintain their integrity.
The first exhibition I had went really well, there was only one problem which was actually quite funny. The works I sold completely fell apart after three months as the high sugar content in the bubble gum had destroyed the foundation beneath – they were all sent back to the galleries! I had to give the money back, but I had already spent it!