Monday, May 14, 2012

Memento mori

'Every artwork that has ever interested me is about death...'

'Because we're dealing with death which is so negative, it has to be totally positive...'

                                    Damien Hirst        

You have to love Tate Modern for exhibiting Damien Hirst's £50 million platinum and diamond skull For the Love of God free to the public, while the rest of his exhibition carries an entry charge.

I'm sorry Damien, but yes it is slightly tacky - the way the lights make it sparkle prismatically like cheap costume jewellery.

But there is something delicate and touching as well about how the stones pick out the shape of  the skull, making you want to touch it.

It is beautiful and macabre.  And the redeeming feature (apart from that laughing grimace) is that it makes you think about the unknown eighteenth century male on whom it is modelled, only whose teeth remain, slightly discoloured but in pretty good condition.  And makes you think about your own mortality....

Perhaps the moral is that, even after death, you never know what might happen to you; fame might still come your way...

Which, I suppose, is also true of David Shrigley's dog exhibit ( recently shown as part of Brain Activity at the Hayward Gallery):

No comments:

Post a Comment