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Art May, 20 2014

Damien Hirst Unveils Gilded Woolly Mammoth Skeleton with ‘Gone but not Forgotten’

Damien Hirst presents the gilded skeleton of a three-meter tall woolly mammoth, in a colossal steel and glass vitrine. The sculpture forms part of Hirst’s “Natural History” series, which he began in the early 1990s, with work including the shark in formaldehyde, The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living. The unique piece was donated by the artist and will be auctioned off at Cinema Against Aids. Hirst explained of the piece: “The mammoth comes from a time and place that we cannot ever fully understand. Despite its scientific reality, it has attained an almost mythical status and I wanted to play with these ideas of legend, history and science by gilding the skeleton and placing it within a monolithic gold tank. It’s such an absolute expression of mortality, but I’ve decorated it to the point where it’s become something else, I’ve pitched everything I can against death to create something more hopeful, it is Gone but not Forgotten.” A time-lapse film of the fabrication of the work can be viewed on Hirst’s official website.

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