Sunday, June 03, 2007

Out of his skull

Am I the only person in the world who thinks putting fifty million quids worth of diamonds onto a skull is pointless and not really art?

Well I suppose it can be considered art - but to me it just seems like someone with too much money making a point. Damien is reknowned after all for his penchent for splashing the cash. But this kind of thing just leaves me cold - when I compare it to the work of Antony Gormley or Andy Goldsworthy - or an exhibition that I went to last weekend at Salthouse Church in Norfolk - there is just no comparison.

The exhibition at Salthouse Church by Britz and McGowan entitled "Stars, Stones and Bones" is the best thing that I have seen in a long time and definitely the best use of the church that I have ever seen. There are a lot of differnet types of work in this show - paintings, collage, installations, mobiles - but they work together as a cohesive whole. Everything in the show is made from natural resources that can be found in Norolk - in itself quite a feat - but some of the pieces are massive. The most impressive works for me were a series of large paintings/ hangings that are placed between the windows. These paintings are massive and are made using mud, sand and clay from the Norfolk coast. Some of them have been made by placing pebbles on the paper and pouring mud over them, adding detail later. There is also a beautiful (if a little smelly) installation made using wire and starfish.

This is a breathtaking exhibition and well worth a visit if you get the chance - this is real art that comes from true inspiration and hard work and touches the heart and soul in a way that a diamnond encrusted skull never can.


Ken Albin said...

Give me the smell of a honeysuckle vine in the morning dew. That can never be matched by human art.

theprovocativecynic said...

This is another very interesting post although, in this case, I actually don't agree with you, despite not always being a fan of Damian Hirst and conceptual art in general.

I think this skull - despite all the negative commentary - is the most powerful indictment of our culture of chasing wealth at all costs that I have ever seen - even allowing for the conflict created by Hirst's own wealth. I suspect that much of the negative commentary has actually been caused by the perception that he is rich and that no-one else could afford to use these materials. This is undeniably true - but doesn't, in my opinion, lessen the power of the message that you can't take it with you, which therefore questions its real worth. I rather think that Hirst is closer to your reader Ken Albin than would first interested to know what you think of my argument!

pupski said...

Yes - that's a good argument, and it is also an interesting point that Hirst has taken something that has been done by many cultures throughout history (although not quite to the extreme Hirst has done it) and made it into art - however those skulls were buried - so maybe you can take it with you!

I suppose my real problem may lie with Hirst himself - after watching him on the South Bank show a while back I got the feeling that a lot of whathe does is about money and publicity, he didn't come across as an artist with a huge drive to create something (in fact he was doing virtually none of the creation at all) - but maybe he's just not that kind of artist.

I think I identify more with those that are driven to create like Antony Gormley and Andy Goldsworthy.