A sculpture made of 8,000 slices of smoked ham goes on show today in Ghent, with its controversial Belgian creator hoping his exhibit will attract enough flies and maggots to turn into a piece of living, smelling art.
"Good art must stink a bit," Jan Fabre told the Belgian daily newspaper De Morgen, describing his work, which covers eight large pillars at the entrance to an art exhibition at Ghent University. "It will be fantastic, with lots of flies flying around and worms crawling about. Then the pillars will really be alive."
The work is part of the new Over the Edges exhibition. The meat, which has already been condemned as unfit for human consumption, will be kept in place with plastic sheeting and a private security company will maintain watch over it.
Local animal rights groups are threatening protests and others are worried about the smell and health implications posed by the rotting meat. But Michel Vandenbosch, president of Belgium's Global Action in the Interests of Animals, said: "We will not be protesting because the meat is from animals which have already been slaughtered and could not be eaten. Mr Fabre has already got what we think he was seeking: publicity."