Visual Studies 1: Creative Arts Today: Part one: Contemporary Art: Page 27-28, Exercise 4

The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living

I found this task somewhat difficult, I really do not understand or really like the piece by Damien Hirst.

My initial reactions were that this looks like something which should be in a natural history museum rather than an art gallery. I am unsure why this is really art and wonder if the poor shark was just killed to be put on display.

I am really disinterested by this piece and it does make me somewhat annoyed.

In my mind this piece could be signifying the moment before you die as the shark looks like it is about to bite you. You are looking death in the face and can appreciate the size and power of the moment.

I think the title is about seeing the abstract concept of death in your mind shown as a physical form.

Still Life with a Volume of Wither’s Emblemes

My initial reaction to this piece by Edwaert Collier was that it was somewhat colourful and full of expensive possessions.

This piece made me somewhat sad that this person has been defined by what they own, we do not know much about them personally and just know their possessions.

I think it is a story of someone’s life told by their possessions , yet despite all that you own death still looms over you.

The title is somewhat nondescript. This painting could be about anyone at any time.

In conclusion

Despite my obvious dislike for the pickled shark I can see the similarities in what is depicted in the two pieces.

Both of them depersonalise death, they could be about anyone or everyone. They both show that death is coming for us, sometimes sooner than we would like and that we are running out of time.

Photo by ahmed adly from Pexels

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