Diamond Skulls

13/4/12 – Skull necklace become a recent observation

There were several people with skull t-shirts and there was one lady who was wearing a diamond skull necklace at the station. The necklace became an instant reminder of Damien Hirst’s Diamond Skull, For the Love of God. The lady’s diamond skull necklace is quite similar to the image below, which has been extracted from the Ultra Diamond website.

Damien Hirst – For the Love of God, 2007

Daragh O’Reily and Finola Kerrigan examine Hirst’s work which features over 8000 diamonds that cover the entire surface of the skull. The diamond skull has been displayed in London and the art piece captivated an enormous amount of publicity from the media and the public.

One critic at the exhibition associated the skull with the ‘nightclub’ scene and one could argue that Hirst’s skull features a similar appearance to a ‘disco’ ball. For the Love of God features similar patterns, shapes and colours and the skull may generate a similar reflection in a dark space.

Perhaps Hirst has attempted to challenge morbid or sinister interpretations of death through the composition of diamonds, which are applied to exterior of the skull. One could argue that the skull reflects beauty, although Hirst’s work questions whether the skull requires thousands of diamonds in order to create a visually appealing subject.

The skull itself could be interpreted as a beautiful and interesting form, although Hirst’s work may encourage the viewer to question mortality or reconsider the notion of death. For the Love of God questions what is beautiful within the 21st century culture and whether a particular subject requires additional commodities to intensify it’s natural beauty.

Daragh O’Reily and Finola Kerrigan also associate Hirst’s skull with consumerism or mass consumption and from a personal perspective the juxtaposition of the skull with the diamonds, may represent the negative aspects of commercialism. Perhaps the skull relates to the blood diamond industry, which has resulted in many deaths from terrible working conditions in order to source diamonds for the west.

Perhaps Hirst’s work also relates to Swallow’s work, which suggests that the majority of mass produced items will eventually surpass mankind. For the love of God may remind the viewer that all of the diamonds may outlive their very own existence, especially with preservation or conservation.

According to the White Cube Gallery, For the Love of God questions humanity and the nature of mankind. One could argue that Hirst’s creation may present a positive and and a negative perspective of death. While the visual aesthetics imply that death isn’t a confronting or frightening subject, the diamonds may represent the pessimistic results from a commercialised society.

Bradshaw, Alan, Kerrigan, Finola & Holbrook, Morris.B. “Marketing the Arts: A Fresh Approach.” In Challenging Conventions in Arts Marketing, edited by Daragh and Kerrigan O’Reilly, Finola. Oxon: Routledge, 2010 p. 5-17

Cube, White. “For the Love of God.” White Cube 2012, http://whitecube.com/artists/damien_hirst/ (accessed 23/4/12)

Shaw, William. “The Iceman Cometh.” The New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/03/magazine/03Style-skull-t.html (accessed 23/4/12)

Victoria, National Gallery of. “Ricky Swallow: The Bricoleur.” National Gallery of Victoria, http://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/whats-on/exhibitions/exhibitions/ricky-swallow. (Accessed 23/4/12)

Image Citations:

Ultra Diamonds, http://www.ultradiamonds.com/necklaces/1-5ctw-black-diamond-skull-pendant-set-in-sterling-silver-48857


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