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For people who are interested in Arts & Culture with a short attention span that is longer than most short attention spans.

May 25, 2010

The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living

I have a question for you all.

Should there be a limit on art?

Take a look at the following, and perhaps it might help you form an answer.
This is The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living (1992) by the English artist Damien Hirst. It is a Tiger Shark preserved in formaldehyde in a vitrine. Now this will appear awfully offensive to some, but I actually enjoy this piece very much. Why? Because it has a concept, and it's clear. It's sharp. Maybe part of the reason why it's so clear is because this artwork is a potential offense. When I see this, the word "denial" runs through my head. It's true; when a loved one dies, there is a denial that accompanies their death. But that is a feeling, and a visual. He brought that feeling to life.

Later on in 1993 Hirst did a similar piece known as Mother and Child Divided:
Similar to the first one, this consists of a mother cow and her calf cut in half and once again, preserved in formaldehyde.

Sooooooo...let me ask you again. Do you think there should be a limit on art? Or should the boundaries continue to be pushed?

Drop a comment below telling us your opinion & why!


  1. Wow, I actually really like both of these pieces, they really give you a lot to think about. I'm not sure where I stand on the issue of putting limits on art... but you've definitely given me a lot to think about! Sorry to not really answer your question at all!


  2. ooo they're very cool when you think about it. but i'd be admittedly freaked out if I saw them in person.
    thanks for the gorgeous birthday wishes missy!

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  4. wow, i am not sure how to feel about these works, although i think they are beautiful, i could be perceived as wrong to do this to an animal, although if preserved they could be kept for people of the future to admire as well, hmm very interesting self debate haha
    i love the art you post, you have great taste!
    keep up the good stuff


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  6. I like this only for the fact that I find myself conflicted about it. And I believe that all art should question the way you think and leave you conflicted.

  7. i am always drawn to things like this... the wow factor gets me every time!

    i think it depends hugely on how the animal dies in the first place. whether you like it or hate it, you have to admit its an absolutely amazing process and final result!

  8. It's unsettling, which is exactly why I think it's good art. It makes you think and makes you want to argue a point - either for or against the art and what it's representing.

  9. I actually love these pieces! Very introspective indeed, and Damien Hirst has some really amazing stuff like his diamond-encrusted skull!