On Marshmallow Art

Startlingly hirsute Italian artist Accurso Git unveiled his latest work at the Pointy Town Biennale this week. Egregore is an anatomically accurate facsimile of the brain, rendered in Git’s favourite medium, marshmallow. Intriguingly, the startlingly untidy artist has chosen to express the concept of the egregore – an occult concept representing a “thoughtform” or “collective group mind”, an autonomous psychic entity – with a marshmallow model not of the human brain, but that of the lobster.

The students of lobsterdom among you will know that the brain of a lobster is about the size of the tip of a ballpoint pen. They do not possess the keenest intellects in the animal kingdom. Asked why his brain was so tiny, Accurso Git initially misconstrued the question and set about his interviewer with his fists, those startlingly hairy fists, with the result that the interview had to be postponed for a month while the interviewer received hospital treatment. During this time, the startlingly ill-tempered artist was given several written assurances that the tiny brain being referred to was that of the lobster, not the one encased in his own startlingly enormous head. When he was eventually placated, and the interview resumed, in a clinic annexe where the interviewer was learning to walk and talk again, Git gave this reply:

“Have you seen the cost of marshmallows? Add together the prices of sugar and corn syrup and water and gelatin that has been softened in hot water and dextrose and vanilla flavourings, take into account the optional use of colouring agents and/or eggs, tack on the labour involved in whipping the mixture to a spongy consistency, and it will be clear even to a simpleton that a startlingly impoverished artist like me, the critically acclaimed Accurso Git, could not afford more than a tiny, tiny amount of marshmallow. What little money I have must be kept aside for gourmet meals and wine and international jetset travel and floozies and pipe tobacco and a place at the table in the tiptop casinos! Yet as I struggled to bring to birth my vision, I realised that a tiny lobster-brain-sized marshmallow facsimile brain was the perfect realisation of the egregore. Were it the size of a human brain, it would be too big. Were it smaller than a lobster brain, it would be as near as dammit invisible. By settling upon the size I did I have proved yet again that I am the greatest artist of this or any other age.”

This kind of talk is par for the course with the startlingly egotistical artist, and is difficult to argue with unless one wishes to end up in hospital alongside others who have crossed him. And in truth, he has a point. When one spends many hours in contemplation of Egregore, as I have done, the sheer artistic force of the piece becomes clear. To a layman it might look like nothing more than a singularly tiny marshmallow placed upon a plinth with a glass case surrounding it, the sole object in the startlingly vast galeria of the Pointy Town Civic Hall, Scout Hut, & Temporary Allotment Rental Office. Yet, as so often, the layman does not see what the piercing acuity of the goatee’d, cravat-wearing art critic sees. Admittedly, I too was at first deluded into thinking it was a mere miniature marshmallow brain. In fact I stomped off to the galeria canteen and unleashed my laptop and, over a startlingly ungenerous helping of sausages ‘n’ pickle, I tapped out an article in which I suggested that Accurso Git had lost his mojo.

Where, I asked, were the signs of the majestic genius whose rendering in marshmallow of the Tet Offensive had been at once so offensive and so thick with sugar and corn syrup and water and gelatin that had been softened in hot water and dextrose and vanilla flavourings and colouring agents and eggs? And where oh where was the startlingly combative artist whose marshmallow Noli me tangere somehow cast two millennia of Christian art into the dustbin of history?

The answer was that he was standing right behind me in the canteen, breathing down my neck and with his fists, those startlingly bony fists, raised ready to strike. I did what any goatee’d cravat-wearing art critic would have done in the circumstances, and offered him a spoonful of pickle. While he was engaged in munching it, with his startlingly awful table manners, I had time to reassess Egregore. I continued to reassess it until Accurso Git dropped his fists, sat down, and called to the waiter for a bottle of wine and an ashtray and a floozie. Until, that is, he appeared to be relaxing, and no longer startlingly combative. I then gave him what was left of my sausage, for in all honesty I had lost my appetite.

What I have not lost my appetite for is Egregore. To that end, I obtained a special permit to set up a camp bed in the galeria, and I now spend all day, every day, gazing, with my customary piercing acuity, at a tiny model of a lobster brain fashioned from sugar and corn syrup and water and gelatin that has been softened in hot water and dextrose and vanilla flavourings and colouring agents and eggs, then whipped to a spongy consistency by marshmallow technicians, more than ever convinced that what I am gazing at is beyond any doubt the very finest tiny model of a lobster brain fashioned from sugar and corn syrup and water and gelatin that has been softened in hot water and dextrose and vanilla flavourings and colouring agents and eggs, then whipped to a spongy consistency by marshmallow technicians in the entire history of Western, or indeed any other, art. And that is my considered opinion as a goatee’d, cravat wearing art critic sans pareil.

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