- Damien Hirst, Gordon Burn
I’ve always liked Damien since I went to see the Sensation exhibition, at the Royal Academy many years ago, where a lot of his work was on show. He doesn’t paint or sculpt, at least on in the traditional sense, he is just an organiser and creator more than anything. I mean what did it take to make The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living? He spent £4,000 on the shark itself and then another £2,000 getting the damn thing shipped from Australia. Then had to have a steel and glass tank built to hold the shark and god knows how many gallons of formaldehyde solution. At the Royal Academy this was one of the first things that you saw at the top of a flight of stairs.
It may seem strange to most people that an artist doesn’t necessarily have to create the work. They just have to have the idea in the first place. Of his spot paintings (Argininosuccinic Acid) the best ones were painted by his assistant. As he explains in the book, would you want to live in a house built by Sir Christopher Wren?
What comes across in the book is Damien’s great love of colour which is surprising coming from an artist famous for slicing and pickling animals.