Mansion house room to be covered in chocolate

The chocolate walls installation. Picture: comp
The chocolate walls installation. Picture: comp
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A ROOM in a Jacobean mansion house on the outskirts of Edinburgh is to have its walls entirely coated in chocolate for the sake of art.

An astonishing 40 kilos of Belgian chocolate will be plastered on all four wall of the room in Bonnington House near Wilkieston.

And visitors to Jupiter Artland, Scotland’s biggest sculpture park, will be invited to scrape, pick or even lick the tasty exhibit.

The chocolart exhibit, entitled “Stroke” will go on show from next month.

It will be created by Paisley-born artist Anya Gallaccio who is flying in from her current base in the United States to install the work. She is expected to take up to four days to prepare the room.

She will paint the chocolate on to giant pieces of cardboard fitted to the four walls with the help of two assistants.

It will remain in place for two months after it is installed in mid-May but its appearance is expected to change dramatically in that time, based on the artist’s previous experiences of staging the work around the world, in locations including Austria, Switzerland, Japan and the US.

Gallaccio, a professor of sculpture at the University of California in San Diego, said the show had triggered hugely different reactions wherever it had been, although the run at Jupiter Artland will be the first time she has created it in her home ­country.

“I first staged the show around 20 years ago in Vienna, where I got the idea from all the cakeshops there and the fact that everybody seemed to be drinking hot chocolate.

“I’ve not told people whether or not to touch it in the past. The response is what makes it really interesting. In places like Austria and Japan, people were really keen to press their faces against it and lick it, but in London they only wanted to pick at it.”

Gallaccio, herself a chocolate lover said that visitors would not be given any instructions before entering the room at Jupiter Artland, which has billed the work as “an extraordinary installation which assaults the senses”, saying the desire to interact with it will be “almost compulsive”.

Gallaccio, 50, who spread 10,000 red roses on the floor of a gallery space at Jupiter Artland for another piece two years ago, added: “To me, the idea of a chocolate room is something that will excite or repulse you.

“The effect definitely isn’t anything fabulous in a Willy Wonka kind of way when it is painted on the walls.

“We don’t do it very systematically, like you would if you were painting a door.”

Jupiter Artland, which was opened by husband and wife Robert and Nicky Wilson, is home to work by leading Scottish and UK-based artists including Antony Gormley, Nathan Coley, Cornelia Parker, Charles Jencks, Anish Kapoor, Andy Goldsworthy and Jim Lambie.

Each year artists are invited to stage exhibitions and installations inside gallery spaces and within the 100-acre gardens.