Peter Anton taps into America's favorite guilty pleasure with his large-scale sculptures of sugary treats, but for Art Miami, he'll juxtapose ordinary indulgence with all-out hedonism. His newest work, "Sugar and Gomorrah," features the confectionery sculptures he's known for (donuts, chocolates) alongside a risqué, modern-day interpretation of the sexually-charged biblical cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Even more intriguing, the exhibit will function similar to a carnival ride. We spoke to Anton to get more insight on this "rideable" art installation as he prepped for his ambitious Basel debut.
Explain the relationship between the two focuses of your exhibit, Sodom and Gomorrah and sugar.
PETER ANTON: When we desire and then eat something sweet that we consider decadent, we worry about gaining weight, for example. In a way, like the doomed residents of Sodom and Gomorrah who were punished for their excesses, we too must be punished for surrendering to our desires. The extra pounds are our penalty.
Where did the indulgence-meets-judgement idea come from?
PA: It's all connected: food, sweets, desires, seduction. There is a point when we can go too far and even go into self-destruct mode. But, that point is a very individual thing. Someone's excess is someone else's normal and boring.
And the carnival ride aspect?
PA: I had the yearning to transform a carnival ride into an art installation for years. I told my gallerist, Ryan Ross of Arcature Fine Art in Palm Beach, about my idea. He loved the idea and made it happen by setting up a meeting with Nick Korniloff of Art Miami.
What has been the biggest challenge in creating the ride?
PA: The biggest challenge was not having access to the ride in my studio 24/7 so I could design and construct everything onsite. I had to follow the ride around county fairs in New England and only get to see it, ride it, and take measurements for a couple of hours each time. My ride does not actually exist yet. I have to bring every construction to Miami and put it all together for the first time. Yikes!
We say this semi-kidding, but is there a height requirement?
PA: No height requirement. I guess it would be considered R-rated since there will be partial nudity.
Will there be some sort of edible reward for finishing the ride?
PA: That sounds like a good idea. Maybe it's best though if after experiencing this attraction, people go out into the streets and find their own favorite delights and enjoy them in private.
If Miami were a candy, what would it be?
PA: A high quality truffle. But, it's all about how you eat the truffle. No biting or chewing. You must let it slowly melt away on your tongue and experience it completely and fully.
Peter Anton's "Sugar and Gomorrah" will be on view December 4-9 at The Art Miami Pavilion, 3101 N.E. 1st Ave., Miami, 305-515-8573.