Not Currently on Display
Damien Hirst’s For the Love of God, laugh shows a skull pictured as if laughing in the face of death. The screenprint is rendered in fine detail against a background covered with diamond dust. To this already sparkling surface Hirst adds a thick and shining glaze. This focus on excess reveals consumption as both a game and madness and draws on a tradition of ‘memento mori’ painting to comment on market-driven consumption of art.
This work is related to another Hirst sculpture, For the Love of God 2007. This platinum cast of a human skull was studded with 8500 diamonds, including a large, flawless diamond marking the position of a ‘third eye’ in the skull’s forehead. Only the real human teeth, set into the cast, were unadorned.
Known for being one of Britain’s wealthiest living artists, Damien Hirst’s art practice pursues the relationships between art, beauty, life and death. A conceptual artist who explores the complexities of human existence through a boldness, clarity and crispness that are better known as visual traits of popular culture. The mass-produced imagery associated with pop art, along with the engagement of studios and artisans to fabricate his works in the same vein as Duchamp’s idea of the ready-made are trends that were brought to the fore among Hirst and his contemporaries known as the Young British Artists of the 1990s.
Hirst came to broad recognition at this time for his spectacular and confronting vitrine sculptures of animals in formaldehyde and paintings made from butterfly wings. More recently, debate has focused on Hirst’s persona and excellent entrepreneurial skills, both informing and obfuscating interpretations of his current work.