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Initially, duo-artists Christo (1935-2020) and Jeanne-Claude (1935-2009) were known for their ephemeral environmental installations worldwide, such as their controversial monumental outdoor temporary installations, most notably the wrapping of world-famous architectonic icons like the „Wrapped Reichstag, Berlin“ 1995 or the project "The Gates, New York" (over 7'503 steel gates with orange-colored fabric were stretched across 37 km of walkaway in Central Park).
Planned to be revealed in 2020 with the project L'Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped Christo had initiated to pack one of the most representative symbols of Paris. Unfortunately, with the pandemic of COVID19, the plans have been postponed to autumn 2021.
Wrapped Globe (Eurasian Hemisphere), 2019
Collage from different materials and silkscreen
Edition of 160 Arab and 90 Roman
85,5 × 75 cm (33. × 29.5 in.)
Signed and numbered
In Mint condition
Link to the edition here
In the Wrapped Globe (Eurasian Hemisphere), 2019 Christo depicts the essence of our current political and climate discussions. The globe, depicting Europe, Africa, and Asia, is placed on a nude figure and its weight is also carried by that stripped body, that has nothing on but various tattoos in foreign languages.
Thirty-one years later, Christo revisits the iconography of the wrapped earth basing it on a photograph from the 1960s. In the same manner, he has now covered the globe with a thicker, semi-transparent plastic foil and tied it with a light string. The sun has already set but the darkness has not yet fallen and a mere milky background neutralizes the composition. For the first time, a nude faceless and unidentified figure emerges to be holding the Earth's weight on his or her back as well as facing the consequences along from the first warning in 1989.
The artist's idea of a wrapped earth was initially published on TIME magazine's cover (2 January 1988). Christo wrapped the Earth, then depicting North and South America, with a transparent plastic wrap hugging its entire scope in front of a baking- hot sunset. The title of the magazine was "Endangered Earth". The image cover brought awareness to nations on the subject of climate pollution and signs of global warming.
Christo cover on TIME magazine (2 January 1989)
Photo credit Gianfranco Gorgoni
With this intimate work, the viewer can trace Christo's movements on the silkscreen - from his decisional placement of the strings, as if it is to hold the Earth in place and provides a quick-fix solution, to the masking tape emphasizing borders on the work as well as to Christo's handwriting which exposes him in a machine typed and industrial world. Throughout the work, lines break the piece into a topography map dividing the image into calculated squares and into a battlefield, only time will tell who will win the battle or the war.
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With his work For the Love of God, Damien Hirst made the ultimate vanitas, a replica of the skull of a thirty-five-year-old man from the thirteenth century. Hirst covered the skull in platinum, set 8601 diamonds into it, and inserted a 52.4-carat diamond into the forehead. Created by the artist in 2007, this totem offered to God is a true icon and it broke all records by becoming the most expensive contemporary artwork in the world.
"Immortality is really desirable, I guess. In terms of images, anyway."
The ambivalence of the message is apparent – a diamond-encrusted skull maybe just a ridiculed, conceited attempt to triumph over death.
Despite the ambiguity of the concept, the artist examines our natural desire for immortality in a playful manner, as exemplified in The Hours Spin Skull. The sculpture acts as a reminder that our existence on earth is transitory. The skull, whose eye sockets are inlaid with watch dials, reminds us of the impermanence of life and it invites and encourages us to meditate on the existential.
“I’ve got an obsession with death … But I think it’s like a celebration of life rather than something morbid.”—Damien Hirst
In the Butterfly series, the artist, as a meticulous collector, depicts colourful dead Butterflies displayed against a contrasting black background. The artwork was inspired by a pursuit typical in Victorian times – butterfly collecting – a popular educational hobby for gentlemen and clergy.
"Everyone’s frightened of glass, everyone’s frightened of sharks, everyone loves butterflies."—Damien Hirst
Again, adopting the mantle of a collector, the artist has created large collage gloss paintings featuring butterfly wings, which are part of the Psalm series. These, as with his other works, aim to capture the beauty and to grasp and fix the ephemeral. Yet, the works conceal the strict relationship between beauty and death.
In Paper Kite Butterfly on Oleander, Hirst features his signature motif – the butterfly – alive in its natural surroundings, hanging from a beautiful, strikingly coloured blossom. In this, he has created an uplifting and celestial image that inspires childlike wonder in the face of such a beauty of nature. At the same time, however, it provokes fundamental questions about the meaning of life, a life which is characterized by death, and the fragility of biological existence.
“I love butterflies because when they are dead they look alive."—Damien Hirst
There is no imminent promise of salvation, no escape offered in these works. Those black pills, as in Dark Black Heaven, are as threatening as they are strangely attractive, a dark fatal allure which we already know leads to one ultimate destiny.
Hirst’s work questions the equivocal role of medicine. It can either take life and save life or destroy and restore. These pills are not a memento mori like the skulls or the butterflies. They are a symbol of resignation and alienation from life, and a fatal attraction towards death.
"It’s like God should be, the way they sell you the pills, the forms, the utopia, the hope, the cure. We’ve come a long way since quack doctors."—Damien Hirst
The pharmaceutical cabinets, as in Hirst’s work Utopia, question people´s complete reliance on medications and their power to heal, which fulfill the natural desire for immortality. However, the question is: Can drugs cure this problem, or can art?
On the other hand, Gold tears, which is part of the Utopia series, depicts rows of shiny diamonds on shelves covered with golden foil in front of a golden-beige background. The image is an intense vision of a golden cabinet filled with diamonds, a vision often associated with glorious eternity. But as always in Hirst’s art, the ambiguity is obvious – this cabinet points to the fact that behind all the shiny glittery surfaces there might be nothing, no meaning, and no soul. And hence the desire for eternity is less a promise than a condemnation.
"I can’t understand why most people believe in medicine and don’t believe in art, without questioning either."—Damien Hirst