25 October 2009


The trick is to construe a puzzle that is easy to solve. People love feeling they are being let in on an exclusive secret. What’s a dead shark doing in a huge fish tank? It represents The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living (1991). Ha! Cannily, the enigmatic quality of the title of Damien Hirst’s piece affirms the aura and value of art: since the eerie beast is about the sublime secret of life and death, it must be worth its price.

I imagine that if I had read this when I was writing my thesis last year (which was on how titles affect the interpretation of art) my head might have imploded! What an idea this is!

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