Last week in London, audience participation in art reached a new level – an assembled throng ate an artist. The fashionably decrepit interior of 33 Portland Place – a house whose peeling rooms are now famous for starring in The King's Speech – played host to a life-size sculpture, or golem, of the American Matthew Day Jackson that had been lovingly made in sponge cake in the south London bakery of the St John restaurant. It was consumed throughout the evening.
"It was surprisingly unsqueamish," said Sara Harrison, the director of Hauser & Wirth, the gallery which is showing Day Jackson's work. It helped that the body parts were stuck together with a delicious butter cream, the lungs were made of marzipan and other organs were created from chocolate fondant and a raspberry mousse.
Day Jackson said: "I'm not really afraid of death. Do I want to die? No. But as you go through life you're continually shedding bits of your self and hopefully you become a better person." We met at the Bermondsey bakery where two golems were being assembled on slabs by St John's head chef, Chris Gillard.
The sweet golem has been consumed but the second, a savoury variant made in brawn (calves' feet and pig's-head jelly packed with tripe, carrots, leeks and parsley) is in a sealed room. Day Jackson is filming its rapid decomposition. "I'd like it to dissolve into nothing," he said. "That will be a shift, a change. But nothing really dies. It just changes."
Matthew Day Jackson: Everything Leads to Another, Hauser & Wirth, London W1 (020 7287 2300) to 30 July