Sunday, January 23, 2011

pink; for the love of god

Damian Hirsts For The Love Of God  isn't exactly a candidate for contemporary works in pink but I  was reminded of this work in an email newsletter from e-flux stating this work will be on show at Palazzo Vecchio in Florence for only the third time since Hirst made it in 2007. It is a platinum cast of a human skull encrusted with 8,601 flawless diamonds, including a pear-shaped pink diamond located in the forehead. I figured a work with a pink diamond in it is surely allowed to find its way into this section of my blog...don't you think?!?!?!

Hirst spent $16 to $20 million to make this work and it sold for $99 million. This makes the work the  most expensive art work ever made. I think it had to be. Making this work with fake diamonds would not have allowed it to be so poignant. It needed to be an exorbitant expression through wealth to have the impact it does. It becomes a tongue-in-cheek execution of the idea it is trying to convey.

Hirsts works deal with death carrying on a tradition of artists who created in the genre memento mori. The diamond encrusted skull reminds us of our mortality.  We may try to defy aging or improve our physical appearance, but in the end, we cannot defeat death. This skull stands as a shining death star staring back at us with a victorious grin, knowing in the end, it will win our fight. We are living creatures after all, and yes, we have things we want to achieve, to create for ourselves and others, but our final destination, goal, or point in life is death, to become this skull (well, not exactly encrusted in diamonds, but you get my point).

We use the term 'for the love of God' towards someone in a situation when we want them to be aware of their irrational behaviour at that moment. We even end it with exclamation marks!!!! Hirsts use of the saying in the title of this work is his way of telling us to wake up and see the bigger picture, to be aware of how we are spending our days, our years, our lives. For the love of God, realise that one day, no matter how much riches you have accumulated or how much 'success' you have had, you will die. Simple. Make the most of now! (Don't you worry, I'm listening too!!!!)

Ahhhhh, la vita bella! Enjoy every step as if it were your last :0)

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