God, this stuff gives me the creeps. No, I really had too much to do with it.
Having been through that period in the late seventies, thinking about what this extraordinary material is and having eaten a lot of it, I never want to have anything to do with it again.
I guess what interested me about this is the material seems to express something about our relationship with the material world. Here is a foodstuff that in a way has come as far as it can from the organic. Here it is, it’s square, it’s been divided, its metonymy is now of absolute 8mm thick slices. It’s made out of wheat flour that has been bleached. So this is like the industrialisation of the very stuff of life, the thing on which we depend. And I guess at the time I was just very, very interested in looking at how, in the manner of a Carl Andre you can begin to demonstrate in a sense the unit, repeated unit base of…
Wow, that smell just drives me… I mean it’s just scary.
I think that the whole generation of American artists, from Carl Andre, Richard Serra, Sol LeWitt, Smithson, influenced me enormously. I think there was a straightforwardness about the way that they were thinking about process and material and the origin of material. I guess I wanted to take those procedures, which were to do with I think pragmatics but also trying to find as it were within the texture of daily life something that could then carry a thought and a feeling.
What I needed to do was offset the layers so that you had a sort of bond between one layer and another. I would simply eat my way through as much as I could take in order to make the equivalent volume in two halves of my body. This is a construction made out of 600 loafs of Mothers Pride that have been as it were deconstructed and then reconstructed in a new way to make this sort of mattress, but that it is actually a meditation among the fundamental processes of both art and life.
This is the first work that really set me on this path to thinking about the body as a found object. It was certainly the first work in which the body was identified, in this case by tooth marks rather than lead, skin.