Damien Hirst: Embracing Readymades and the Notion of Living Forever

Topics: Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons, An Oak Tree Pages: 8 (2627 words) Published: April 25, 2012
* Cornucopia, an exhibition by Damien Hirst, was held at the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco and lasted from 2nd April 2010 to 30th September 2010. The retrospective exhibition showcased more than 60 key works of Hirst, spanning from the last 15 years of the artist’s career, which included sculptures of sharks encased in tanks, paintings and cabinets of medical equipment. * The exhibition was presented together with the Nouveau Musee National de Monaco at the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco, which marks its 100 year anniversary in 2010. Built by Prince Albert I in March 1910, the Oceanographic Museum is dedicated to “unite in a single star the two driving forces of civilization: Art and Science.” Its mission is to greet international artists whose ideas are to reflect on the future and meaning of human existence. Cornucopia, the symbol of abundance, is more than just a juxtaposition of works. It is a shared combination of works that is displayed throughout the museum, setting up conversation between the museum’s collection and Hirst’s contemporary art pieces. The relationship and connection between the works will give visitors a dialogue between the different works, engaging them in a conversation of art and science between the past, present and future.

* Cornucopia, a retrospective exhibition that features more than 60 key works of renown contemporary artist Damien Hirst, was set up after Hirst was invited to mark the centenary of the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco. Hirst, one of the most celebrated contemporary artists, whose works propose a personal interpretation of past works, find their insight in science and their basis in art history. Relationships with life and death are being examined, and questions dealth to our cultural, artistic and philosophical ideals. * Works of Damien Hirst mirrored Marcel Duchamp’s idea of the ‘readymade’, that the concept is much more important than the outcome of the work itself, and that ordinary objects/subjects could be taken from everyday use and be used for art. * Although Hirst’s works explores the themes of life and death, pathology and science, with the help of ‘readymade’ objects, his works arouse a sense of spiritual enlightenment in the spectator, along with the notion of living forever, which compliments with the centenary of the museum. * With that, I will firstly talk about the idea of the ‘readymades’, and how it is being used in the works that is being exhibited in Cornucopia. Next, I will be analyzing them, discussing the potential meaning behind the ‘readymades’ to my proposed theme of spirituality and the idea of living forever. Historical and socio-cultural context will also be discussed. Finally, I will cross-referenced Hirst to another similar artist who embraced the use of ‘readymades’ – Jeff Koons – and make comparison between the two in another exhibition both him and Hirst were involved in – RE-OBJECT. *

The term readymade came about when Marcel Duchamp transformed everyday objects into works of art. The act of taking an ordinary object from everyday life and placing it in a gallery or a museum as art, the meaning of the object changes entirely. The object cannot function as it serves to, and now rather, it became defamiliarized and is functionless of its original function. Now, the function changes entirely when they became works of art, and together with that, their meaning and representation changes as well. In Damien Hirst works, the readymades that he uses involved not only ordinary everyday objects, but of actual animal specimen. The use of animals evoked a sense of spirituality, where it is both curious and provocative to the spectator. It is both real and unreal at the same time, an implication of reality and fantasy. *

* The Immortal, 1997 – 2005, Shark, steel,...

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