HIRST’S COMMENTARY ON THE PIECE “I wanted to make it so that you walk into a gallery and are confronted by something that would tap into your real fears, genuine things that you’re afraid of…A painting of a shark would never have done it for me” [INT. 1]. “[Death] is every artist’s main theme…There isn’t really anything else. It just depends how far you stand back from it…You try and avoid it, but it’s such a big thing that you can’t” [INT. 1]. “The difference between art about death and actual death is that one’s a celebration and the other’s a dull fact…You can frighten people with death or an idea of their own mortality, or it can actually give them vigour, and they can go away and appreciate their lives more” [INT. 1].
STYLE & METHOD OF CREATION Funding: Funded by Charles Saatchi In 1991, Saatchi offered to pay for whatever art Hirst wanted to create Materials: Tank of painted steel and glass, divided into three cubes Formaldehyde 13-foot tiger shark, caught in Queensland, Australia In total, the piece weighs 23 tons and cost 50,000 pounds.
HISTORICAL CONTEXT & ART-HISTORICAL MOVEMENT Britart or Young British Artists (YBAs) – London, 1988 Shocking, controversial Backed by Charles Saatchi Brought new life and energy to British art Damien Hirst played leading role in the group, as well as Tracey Emin – “My Bed”
CONTROVERSY The Stuckists Eddie Saunders – 1989, electrical supply store window display The “original” shark – “A Dead Shark Isn’t Art” Why didn’t it get the recognition and praise as groundbreaking art that Hirst’s shark received?
LANGER AT A GLANCE Langer’s definition of art: “A work of art is an expressive FORM created for our perception through sense or imagination, and what it EXPRESSES is human feeling” (168).
FORM Remember logical form – the abstract sense of “form,” or the articulation of the whole (169). Logical form is “abstractable,” as we often intuitively perceive it (170). Expressive form – “any perceptible or imaginable whole that exhibits relationships of parts…so that it may be taken to represent some other whole whose elements have analogous relations” (170). The intuitiveness of the process of understanding A through B leads to a difficulty sometimes in distinguishing symbol B through what it conveys of A (170).
LIMITS OF FORM Height of symbolic representation? Language - use is called discourse, the pattern of which is termed discursive form. But, discursive form is limited to that which can be verbally expressed. The “subjective aspect” or “direct feeling” of experience defies verbal expression, but plays a central role in experience (171). Discourse is limited to identifying these with generics: ‘love,’ ‘hate,’ ‘fear,’ etc. How does human communication accommodate for such expression? Metaphor, and the use of symbolic form – “the principle of saying one thing and meaning another, and expecting to be understood to mean the other” (171).
EXPRESSIVENESS Expression in art need not be symptomatic – i.e., artist composing a tragedy need not be despairing (172). Self-expression of the most lucid nature is actually often artistically undesirable (172). Rather, “A work of art presents feeling…for our contemplation, making it visible or audible or in some way perceivable through a symbol…What is artistically good is whatever articulates and presents feeling to our understanding” (172). Form in this sense is not “abstractable,” as the feeling presented in a good work of art seems “to be directly contained in it…The congruence is so striking that symbol and meaning appear as one reality” (172). In this way, the artist “objectifies the subjective realm,” expressing “not his own actual feelings, but what he knows about human feeling” (173).
DAMIEN HIRST: ‘THE PHYSICAL IMPOSSIBILITY OF DEATH IN THE MIND OF SOMEONE LIVING’
BIBLIOGRAPHY ARTICLES: “Damien Hirst.” Damien Hirst. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Nov. 2012. http://www.damienhirst.com/. http://www.damienhirst.com/ Langer, Susanne. “Expressiveness.” Art and Interpretation. Ed. Eric Dayton. Ontario: Broadview, 1998. 168-73. Print. The Stuckists. “A Dead Shark Is Not Art.” The Stuckism Website. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Nov. 2012. http://www.stuckism.com/Shark.html.http://www.stuckism.com/Shark.html “Young British Artists.” Wikipedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Nov. 2012. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Young_British_Artists. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Young_British_Artists ***All images and information not identified to be from one of the additionally enumerated sources came from Damien Hirst’s official website.
BIBLIOGRAPHY, CONT. IMAGES: 1.N.d. Photograph. Wasp Reporter. Intelligent Life Magazine. Web. 25 Nov. 2012. http://www.waspreporter.nl/waspreporter/209841/. http://www.waspreporter.nl/waspreporter/209841/ 2.N.d. Photograph. White Water Valley Arts Fusion. Web. 25 Nov. 2012. http://www.whitewatervalleyartsfusion.com/images/artist_sketch.jpg. http://www.whitewatervalleyartsfusion.com/images/artist_sketch.jpg 3.Replogle Livingston 12-inch Diam. Tabletop Globe. N.d. Photograph. Worldglobes.com. Web. 25 Nov. 2012. http://www.worldglobes.com/tabletop-globes/traditional/livingstonworldglobe.cfm.http://www.worldglobes.com/tabletop-globes/traditional/livingstonworldglobe.cfm 4.My Bed. N.d. Photograph. Saatchi Gallery. Web. 26 Nov. 2012. http://www.saatchi- gallery.co.uk/artists/artpages/tracey_emin_my_bed.htm.http://www.saatchi- gallery.co.uk/artists/artpages/tracey_emin_my_bed.htm 5.Susanne Langer. N.d. Photograph. Krd24’s Blog. New Jersey Institute of Technology, 27 Sept. 2010. Web. 25. Nov. 2012. https://blogs.njit.edu/krd24/2010/09/27/susanne-k-langer/https://blogs.njit.edu/krd24/2010/09/27/susanne-k-langer/. INTERVIEWS: 1.Sooke, Alastair. “Damien Hirst: ‘We’re Here for a Good Time, Not a Long Time.’” The Telegraph. N.p., 08 Jan. 2011. Web. 25 Nov. 2012. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/art/art- features/8245906/Damien-Hirst-Were-here-for-a-good-time-not-a-long-time.html.http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/art/art- features/8245906/Damien-Hirst-Were-here-for-a-good-time-not-a-long-time.html