A new sculpture and a corresponding group of works by Damien Hirst in collaboration with Deyrolle, Paris’s legendary house of taxidermy and natural sciences is on the auction site, Paddle 8. Hirst has a fascination with natural history, from halved cows, suspended sharks and diamond encrusted skulls, he plays with the relationships between nature and science, myth and reality, art and beauty, life and death. Using artiﬁce, consumerism, uncertainty, violence, beauty this work “Signiﬁcation” is a Wunderkammer, “a cabinet of curiosities” that follows an historical tradition dating back to the sixteenth century when Wunderkammer were conceived as visual encyclopedias. Since the late 80s, Hirst has continuously employed cabinets, tanks and vitrines as a means of framing his works. Hirst has added brightly colored cleaning products to the collection, with Pop-art lettering as a symbol of contemporary society’s utopian aspirations. He explains:
“They give us hope, some might say false hope, they seem to say that we can achieve immortality through cleanliness that we can somehow make the bad things in the world go away, which of course we can’t.”
And a counterpoint is offered too: the gun and knife reminding us of our ever-present destructive nature. This series ought to really piss everybody off, for a myriad of reasons. Take your pick!
Click here to see the the history of the famed Parisian taxidermy house, Deyrolle. Proceeds support Victim, the UK charity founded by Damien Hirst, and Deyrolle’s program of natural sciences education and preservation of biodiversity.