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How many licks does it take to get to the center of German artist Hannes Bend's candy sculptures? None, actually.

Sure, Bend casts his creations from a mix of sugar water and glucose. And, yes, for his first solo show in the U.S., which opens tonight at Half Gallery (owned by Cynthia Rowley's husband, Bill Powers), Bend spent a day at Broome Street's Papabubble's sweets shop cooking up his most recent creations. (Disclaimer: We love the place. Papabubble will personalize anything in fabulous confectionery form.) But this is art, not foodstuff, so the Berlin-based Bend covers all his work in a thick glaze of clear varnish. "I want to preserve my pieces like bronze or steel sculptures," he remarks. The partial inspiration here: Jeff Koons. "His sculptures are candy-colored," Bend says. "I use candy."

Though Bend's sugary "Hermaphrodite" pièce de résistance — a nearly 300-pound behemoth shaped like Rodin's "The Thinker" but made from male and female bits — won't be at the show, his "Praying Hands" and "Crucifix" sculptures will. Both were cast from actual knickknacks bought on eBay.