The Italian Almanac

Silla Ferradini

Italian Art - May 7

A scandal has broken out here ever since word got out that the sculptor Silla Ferradini would be installing a piece titled "Large woman's curl ... I'd eat you up with kisses" in a Milanese park. Stoked by the media, intellectuals, artists and city-hall politicos have spent days heatedly debating the propriety of putting magnified pubic hair on public show.

"The title refers to an erotic game common to all cultures," said Ferradini, the soft-spoken 69-year-old creator of "curl," as the sculpture is now known, during an interview. The artist appeared to be sincerely mystified by the furor sparked by his work, which is eight meters, or about 26 feet, tall.

It was created as part of a collective art exhibit coordinated by "Arte da Mangiare mangiare Arte" (Art To Be Eaten Eating Art), which calls on artists to use food as material. The theme of the association's exhibit this year - which runs until Sunday to coincide with MiArt, Milan's international modern and contemporary art fair - is cannibalism.

The food component of "curl" involved the distribution among spectators of a miniature pastry version, with chocolate twirls in lieu of the original iron-cast curls. Ferradini unsuccessfully looked for a bakery that would sponsor the triangular-shaped pastries in exchange for putting their name on everyone's lips.