A conceptual artist from Norway cooked his own hipbone “on a whim” and ate the flesh with potatoes and a glass of wine. Alexander Selvik Wengshoel made the claim at the opening of his graduation show, saying that the meat tasted like “wild sheep”.
English-language news site The Local reports that his hipbone was displayed as part of the exhibition, along with a film of the operation to remove it.
Wengshoel said that he initially had difficulty persuading his doctors to allow him to film the hip-replacement operation and then keep his bone.
He told The Local: “I just wanted to use it in my art. I didn’t know at that time that I would boil it and eat it. But it just came really naturally.”
“I had to boil off the meat to get to the bone, 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’, so I had a little taste, and then I thought, ‘that’s really nice’.”
After tasting the meat, he decided to turn it into a proper meal.
“I made myself dinner while my girlfriend was at work, and I just resolved to have this really nice moment, with me and my hipbone.”
Wengshoel explained that he had been born with a deformed hip and had to spend years on crutches and in a wheelchair. After a series of failed operations, he finally had a metal replacement fitted when he was 21, while he was doing a foundation art course in Oslo.
He told the Nordlys newspaper: “When, from the age of three months, you experience them cutting into you and stretching your foot, and then end up stuck in a hospital bed where you are forced to endure pain and medication, then it does something to you in the long term.”
He said that, after years of pain, eating the bone helped him feel better. He described eating it as a “romantic” experience.
“The hipbone had been such a problem for me for over 20 years, and it was just a way of making it better again. It had been so hard to have it in my body, and when I took it out, it turned into something else, something romantic. It was a natural process I felt I had to do to move on.”
He admits, however, some people at his college took a different view.
“Some like it, some understand, some hate it, some get really pissed off and start yelling at me ‘ this is not art’. It’s the whole spectrum of feelings and reactions.
“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. i just work with my own body. That is my canvas.”