Exhibition Essays

Number Nine

December 2002


Clemence Boyce, Regan Gentry

Quality time with used gum

Not something you do everyday.


An installation of remains

Not really, as all the gum was hand masticated. And that stuff is revolting when hot, wet and slippery.



I have always liked this word. So simple and compact, and entirely

appropriate when considering the state of newly spat gum.


To chew and not to swallow

There is something so neat about this state of affairs. When you chew, it follows to swallow. But the chewing gum industry is based on the human impulse to fill your mouth but not really.



Art is so often about creation, fabrication and construction. Spat was too, but by re-creating the outside. Elevating discarded gum, intimating it has a life beyond the walls of a minty-fresh mouth, the installation sought to question communication. Is used gum simply evidence of all those words, those phrases and moments we lose everyday?


Words lying

Artfully placed lumps of Hubba Bubba and other such brands spread across the floor, some being picked up by unwitting visitors. Many lumps being carefully negotiated around by viewers unsure about how to see it.


Discarded and disregarded

Lost in silent debate

Old school chairs encouraged the brave to squat in a corner on nasty

recycled carpet and admire some particularly grotty lumps.


Abandoned saliva reduced

to infectious curiosities

Enjoy kitted out as a sticky wunderkammer.


Bacterialised artefacts adorn


an empty space

People asked, “but where is the art? What am I supposed to be looking at?”




Stuck to shoes and arses

And chairs and walls

Using a heat gun, hairdryer and baking paper.


Unwittingly sticky

moments with the

intimate recesses

of strangers’ mouths

It happens all the time. And only now and then do I think of my mother.


Just where has it been? Whose? When?


Less is more


[But Extra is less]

Stand in a supermarket checkout and try to figure out what messages gum

companies try to communicate.




Low calorie Extra. If it doesn’t give you any sugar what sort of extras does it provide?


Creatively unclean

Words cast down


Left to linger





Now rudely resurfaced