Scott Hove’s Cakeland caused waves in the art community. Large scale installations entirely consisting of cake-like structures, and overwhelmingly saccharine colours made for an oddly unsettling vibe. Hove’s latest exhibition My Own Private Apocalypse pushed his Cakeland theme even further, blending taxidermy teeth, eyes and tongues with his creations. We speak to the artist about how this all came to be.
So, can I ask, why cake?
Of course, that’s the first thing most people ask. I like the way cakemakes me feel, and I like how strongly others relate to it. It’s very personal for everyone, and that’s a good place to start a dialogue.
What is the process behind creating something as large scale and daunting as Cakeland?
The mental process is simple: Create by any means necessary. Then anything lying around will look like a suitable medium to use. It’s like a crazy person receiving messages in their basement to build a spaceship; you just do it and worry about consequences in another life.
What moved you to further your Cakeland theme into the wilder, more demonic-looking sculptures in your My Own Private Apocalypse exhibition?
The demonic stuff you are talking about predates the Apocalypse show by many years. Adding fierce elements to a happy cake makes for a more compelling sculpture in my view. Just doing fake cakes is something people do all the time, and it doesn’t equal art. At this point I am just trying to refine my techniques and keep surprising myself and the people who enjoy my work.
Why the title My Own Private Apocalypse? Is the idea of the end of the world something you have held an interest in generally, or is it something more personal to you?
Though I am an optimist, I have always held a very apocalyptic view of our civilization. I spent years obsessing about the collapse of everything and realised that it was more a state of my own mind than an imminent reality. My art comes from that world view, so it is very much a picture of my own private apocalypse. This will raise more questions than it will answer for a lot of readers, but that is for everyone to figure out on their own.
Clashed against those sugary sweet cakes there are animal jaws, teeth and tongues, creating a beautiful ferocity to your pieces. What draws you to taxidermy?
I don’t like taxidermy, and don’t agree with the world view of those who use it, the trophy hunters. I can’t believe that in this day and age some people think it’s impressive to go out and kill, say, an elephant for fun or to impress their equally disconnected colleagues. I also hasten to add that I have nothing against real hunters who depend on their game. How’s that for a mini-tirade? I have nothing against taxidermists, though, and I love the paraphernalia of their craft, and I feel fine lifting pieces of it to make a good sculpture.
There are also distinctive influences of foreign, ancient cultures in your recent work, with mythical creatures, traditional architecture and patterns. Where did this stem from?
I have always incorporated and been influenced by traditional craft, pattern, design, style and myth in whatever art I have done. There is a reason things become classical, and that is that they retain a relevance throughout the ages. This is worth studying and is good for the mind.
You've also included a few shoe designs (highly sexualised, fetish shoes at that) in your current work, is this an area you originally envisioned yourself moving into?
The shoes are a natural extension of the unbridled decadence you see in the cakes. The cakes are fetish objects themselves. There are few fetish objects more powerful in our decadent culture than stripper shoes. Any woman who puts on my shoes is instantly transformed into an object of worship. This has a lot of problematic implications, again something for everyone else to figure out on their own.
What's next for you? Do you have plans for something on a larger scale? Maybe an entire building taken over by Cakeland?
I am going to do a Cakeland mirror maze, or I will die trying. It will be very big. It will have a permanent location. People will pay admission to experience it, and I will make money. That’s the plan right now.
You can view My Own Private Apocalypse, and all of Scott's work at www.mshove.com