14/4/12 Midnight Rambler, 2008
Contemporary artist, Stephen Gregory also explores the subject of death through the application of visual materials with a collection of human skulls. Gregory’s work has been in the Nicholas Robinson gallery with other three dimensional creations that have been constructed from other bones.
Gregory work’s do feature similarities to Hirst’s diamond skull, although the artist cites in Charlotte Higgin’s article (The Dailymail) that his work does feature comparisons in relation to scale and accuracy. Midnight rambler for instance contains small, delicate stones, while Hirst’s work features medium sized diamonds. Both artists may feature similar techniques or procedures, although the visual aesthetics and the representation are different from one another.
In comparison to Hirst, Gregory’s Midnight Rambler features different patterns and textures, which contrast with the pale surface of the skull. The dark pupils and the eyelids may provide the skull with a humanistic appearance, which significantly contrasts with the shape of the nose. The pupils may provide the skull with a sinister appearance, while Hirst’s Diamand skull invites the viewer to longingly gaze into the dark, sparkly eye sockets.
The dark, stylised lines on Gregory’s skull may feature a similar appearance to zebra stripes, which may represent the border between life and immorality. Gregory argues that the skull has become as image that is consistently reproduced within the contemporary culture. The skull is not a new concept although the context, the representation and the design may create an interesting or dynamic image.
The skull is heavily reproduced and it’s quite difficult for any consumer to avoid various representation which feature different styles, designs, contexts and representations. One could argue that Hirst’s skull and Gregory’s work feature similarities to the Aztec skull.
According to Stanley Brandes the Aztecs used skulls as presents or offerings for ancient temples, which were composed with different objects or materials. For the indigenous community in Mexico, the skulls were used as an artistic format and a form of creative expression.
Some of the Aztec skulls also feature wide pupils and eyeballs, which is very similar to Gregory’s work. The application of different materials, objects or substances appear quite similar to Hirst’s and Gregory’s techniques / method.
Higgins, Charlotte. “No Bones About It, These Skulls Are Different ” The Guardian, http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2008/may/02/art. (accessed 23/4/12)
Guardian, The. “Sugar Skulls and Sacrifice: Damien Hirst and Mexico’s Death Culture – in Pictures.” The Gaurdian, http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/gallery/2012/apr/19/damien-hirst-mexico-death-in-pictures
Brandes, Stanley. Skulls to the Living, Bread to the Dead. The Day of the Dead in Mexico and Beyond. Australia: Blackwell Publishing, 2006.
Image, Cass Sculpture Foundation, http://www.sculpture.org.uk/StevenGregory/maquette/midnight-rambler/