A common response when artists boldly transgress against Christian piety - Andres Serrano's Piss Christ comes to mind - is to mutter that they wouldn't have the nerve to do the same for Islam. Well, one Spanish performance artist has dared to put his art where his mouth is:
The Navarran artist Abel Azcona, international exponent of performance art, is receiving threats because of his work "Eating a Koran", in which he eats pages from the book sacred to Muslims.
The piece forms part of an invetigation [sic] project initiated during a residency on the topic of religious fundamentalism and the need to "nourish ourselves with fiction, lies and fear". Specifically, this project consists of an installation, a performance and a video work, in which the artist eats a copy of the Koran over eight hours as a critique of religious radicalism. "I believe in freedom of expression, provocation and artistic freedom, and I will certainly continue doing so today, tomorrow and always," comments Abel Azcona, who has been threated by anonymous letters, emails and SMS.
You can check out some of Azcona's earlier work at this Flickr page. The meat ones are pleasingly gross, especially this. And his Silencio, in a square in Pamplona, has a certain power - though I can't help thinking, as he lay there in his bag, that he was wishing he'd chosen a drier day.
This time, I fear, he may have bitten off more than he can chew.