"IT SMELLS SO POWERFUL"

h: now that we know why you pick the body parts and wounds you do, let's talk about your choice of using chocolate and the presentation.

s: the pure chocolate... when you open the box and there's this warm smell. the illusion is there. i've exhibited them a lot and it works really well in the sense that people didn't understand what they were looking at. they were really confused because they smell it and then they want to eat it. the viewer always questions like, "what is it" and "did you make these from your friends". when they hear it's from a morgue, they don't understand. it really throws the viewer in a quandary about what's going on and what they're seeing and what they smell. smells are so powerful.

h: do you order the foil from a chocolate company? it's pretty specific color-wise.

s: yes...i wanted to portray two very distinct feelings. each box like two different cities... one for moscow, one for toledo i wanted particular colors for each box like this box...the reds and the greens are a bit pale more russian looking. these are all autopsy wounds. but the american box as it turned out was much more wounds coming from violence so the box has a much heavier feel for that reason the american has deeper colors.

h: what about the actual design of the box?

s: the design of that is st. george, patron saint of moscow and the toledo box although american i used the coat of arms from toledo spain.

h: this piece in particular, you made in chocolate coins from each country. there are.. coins from america...

s: it's funny, this guy mentioned that to me. he said "that's really subtle you put kennedy in there"

h: oh no...i see, it's kennedy

s: i didn't even think about that. i just wanted the coin because it's big and represented a certain place and time.

h: what are these things?

s: they from the halcyon nest chocolate eyes editions. named after a sleeping pill which was named after the mythological Halcyon bird who built its nest on the waters of a calm still ocean.

h: are these taken from actual people?

s: yes, these i did in moscow, the closed eyes. the other with open eyes i did here.

h: when you did the mold, how does it affect the actual eye?

s: it doesn't.

h: what is the story behind the chocolate eggs?

s: this was in moscow 1996 for an exhibition i also did this performance called 3 balls of flesh i had a company make chocolate eggs and place these medical instruments inside filled with flesh colored oil paint. at the opening, i broke the eggs open and removed the instruments filled with oil paint. i took the paint out with my fingers and smeared it onto bandages. people drank a lot. the eggs were in chocolate people were swarming on them. everybody was eating them, so everyone figured the paint was cream. people were coming up to me like, "what is this stuff" and their mouths were all pink. (laughter)

h: so, do you have no problem with people touching your work?

s: no, it always happens. once in glasgow with the morgue chocolates. my only concerns was i knew the work was going to travel for a year around the UK... with someones teeth marks.


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"Chocolate Table"- detail; Russian/American Morgue Chocolates boxes 1994
 
"Evisceration of Waited Moments"- American Morgue Chocolates, Private Collections, 1994
 
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"Halcyon Nest"- Russian Morgue Chocolates, (closed eyes), Private Collection 1994
"Three balls of flesh",(chocolate eggs) L Gallery Moscow, Russia. 1996