Exploring a 7,000-square-foot castle made of cake probably ranks high on the list of many a person's childhood fantasies. But take a closer look at Scott Hove and Keith Magruder’s new installation, Break Bread LA, and the frosting-decorated dreamscape quickly becomes a nightmare.
To look at the exhibition, it wouldn’t be surprising if visitors’ teeth started to ache the moment they step inside. For the first portion of the installation, Hove has transformed six rooms inside a Los Angeles art gallery into a candy-coated, frosted-pink, intricately decorated cake maze. Chandeliers made of gum drops hang from the ceiling, piped pastel frosting makes up the molding and trim and hard candies cover the walls, Deborah Vankin writes for the Los Angeles Times.
“It really captures peoples’ emotions and imagination, immediately, when they walk in,” Hove tells Vankin. “People have a lot of positive associations with cake. It appeals to a very primitive part of our brain.”
When you look a little closer, though, Hove’s cake rooms aren’t all that sweet. As real as it looks, even the hungriest art lover wouldn’t want to take a bite out of the show: what looks like real cake is really just house paint and spackle, Kate Sierzputowski writes for Colossal. The sugary-looking pastel decorations obscure a darker aspect of the exhibition as well: the cakes with bared fangs, for example. Or the frosting-coated Uzis and switchblades scattered throughout the installation, for another.
“To contrast that bougie cake look, I collect items that have an inherent violence, but beauty at the same time,” Hove, who collaborated with Banksy on last year’s Dismaland, tells Sierzputowski. “That’s why I choose things like switchblades, wolf jaws, and leopard jaws. Even though they are plastic, they possess a real fierce quality that affects us on a very deep level.”
Get deep enough into the maze and visitors will find themselves face-to-face with an unnerving scene of a very different kind: a basketball court decorated with an impromptu memorial of candles and flowers as if in remembrance of someone killed at the scene. This portion is designed by Magruder, also known as “Baker’s Son," and features photorealistic watercolor paintings (some of which can be bought at an on-site ice cream truck), Danny Jensen writes for LAist.
“The main goal for me is when the viewer sees it, they have some type of connection with it, that their own stories will come up instead of mine,” Magruder says in a video promoting the installation.
While Break Bread is free to visit and explore during the day, by night it will host all manners of ticketed events, including one-of-a-kind meals, live art, improv comedy and even a performance by Cirque du Soleil, Jensen writes.
“This is a culture that people are gonna consume the [heck] out of – gorgeous, lavish events,” Hove tells Vankin. “I’m interested in extreme decadence, sort of the fall of Rome decadence, decadence that happens at the cost of everything else.”
You can find more information on Break Bread and its events here.