By Maxim Tamarov, news editor
Alexander Selvik Wengshoel may not have been internationally recognized for any eclectic drawings, but the 25-year-old Norwegian sure made headlines when he decided to eat his own hip.
Wengshoel, a student of the Tromsø Academy of Contemporary Art, was born with a deformed hip and had a replacement operation at the age of 21 after years of living with pain and crutches. After soliciting his doctors to let him film the surgery as well as keep the former part of him, Wengshoel turned the removal of his hip bone into an art project. The film and the bone were displayed at his graduation, where he explained what happened to the flesh.
“I had to boil off the meat to get to the bone,” Wengshoel said in an interview with Norway’s English newspaper The Local, “and when I started scraping off the meat, I took off a little piece and I thought, ‘Why not do it? It’s not every day I will have a piece of human flesh which is mine and which it is possible to eat.'”
Wengshoel remarked that the meat tasted like “wild sheep.”
He then proceeded to make himself a gourmet dinner out of potato gratin and wine with the “goaty” autocannibalistic main dish while his girlfriend was away.
“It had been so hard to have it in my body, and when I took it out, it turned into something else, something romantic,” Wengshoel said of his cathartic meal. “It was a natural process I felt I had to do to move on.”
The project garnered mixed reviews from the collegiate audience, according to Wengshoel. While some enjoyed and understood his corporeal message, others rejected its artistic merit.
“It’s nice to get people thinking about their own bodies, and their own view on their bodies, and what it’s possible to do with the body,” Wengshoel said. “I just work with my own body. That is my canvas.”
Photo courtesy Stu Horvath, creative commons.