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  • Writer's pictureLida Sherafatmand

An Eternity of Death or Renascence - In Dialogue with Damien Hirst

The mainstream art scene, meaning important galleries, museums, and major salons, give space and prominence to works which in consequence influence our thinking and emotions, as well as the very feel of the atmosphere around us. One of the works which has been given lavish space in this mainstream is 'Eternity' by Damien Hirst.

This ‘Eternity’ piece consists of dead butterflies (killed for this piece), which take one into the mode of a physical body dying. This piece was sold for £4,724,000.

Patrick Barkham writes on the Guardian about it: “Apart from their rich association with childhood, butterflies are symbols of freedom, the embodiment of living life to the full. In many cultures they represent human souls; in medieval Ireland, white butterflies were thought to be dead children; white butterflies have also been discovered fluttering in the cells of recently executed Tibetan monks. Butterflies represent escape – and death (something of an obsession for Hirst) is the ultimate release. “ “...Hirst's butterflies encourage us to reflect on how ephemeral life is for every insect – and for their human spectators.”

Well, Hirst entitled this piece Eternity while bringing out the very ephemeral aspect of the insect life and human life. It is almost as though he is mocking the idea of eternity. But while his work sold at practically 4 million Sterling, that ephemeral vibe of his work paradoxically enough became a permanent piece in the art history mainstream, besides the lavish exposure being given to it in today’s art scene.

The piece I have created “Shine of Original Beauty” focuses on the shine which we have when we are born, to bring out that shine throughout life as a renascence mindset and experience.

So if the Eternity which Damien Hirst focuses on is that of a decomposition, the eternity which I focus on in my piece is composition. Decomposition and composition are two forces of nature which exist.

As a migrant, I got to see the two sides of a story in human relations, and collective cultural relations. I noticed how often a genuine misunderstanding and a lack of deep knowledge of the other cause stifled relations. Consequently as an  artist also I became aware how important it is that the vision and voice of different artists are given space in the public exposure, in order to avoid one-sided understandings or artistic experiences.

This piece of mine in dialogue with Damien Hirst is not to devalue the the death view shown by Damien Hirst nor to say he is wrong. It is to say that alongside such voice in the mainstream, a counter-balancing voice also needs to be heard and given space to, in order that we ourselves nor the public audience would have a one sided mind-set on things nor a monopolized artistic experience brought forth by the mainstream.

So if Damien Hirst provides the audience with the trapped experience of death using dead butterflies, I provide the audience with the trapped experience of eternal freshness and shine using the internal eye of vision.

If the mainstream art today invites a deadening experience, as a person who cannot just blindly follow the trend, I invite a revitalizing experience. What happens after my time, is the responsibility of other artists to provide what the audience can benefit from. The difference between the artist and a typical brand seller, is that the artist cannot just provide what the market demands. It is fine to provide what the market wants, but the work of an artist goes slightly beyond that market flow.

For art historians concerned purely with the practice of art and its ideas, a mainstream practically does not exist, salons and big galleries, or awards, do not come into the equation in what makes an artist’s work worthy of attention. However art collectors, art investors, and important galleries and museums are the people whose support allows an  artist to grow. A great art historian friend of mine, Dr Ramin Hajian Fard who has followed my paintings since 2008,  highly appreciates my paintings from a purely art practice point of view, yet he would be financially unable to buy paintings . Academic experts have little say in the art market, while it is the art market which permits the artist to live.

The 4 million Sterling spent on a single piece “Eternity” of Damien Hirst, is a huge budget which supports also the vision of that artist brought onto the society.  4 million Sterling on a single piece is much higher than the budget needed for an artist to be able to live and continue growing. Therefore the 4 million euros must be supporting a much bigger aim, than just supporting one single artist, and that bigger aim is: supporting a VISION!

And it is precisely that vision which I humbly try to respond to with my paintings, because I saw how one-sided understanding of situations can damage the quality of human relations, especially in our internationally highly interactive world today.

I do not agree with a 4 million Sterling to be spent on a piece of mine, because I do not require that amount to to be able to live, support a family and continue producing good high quality art.

If people like my vision, and think it can balance our art scene, I invite those people to support my work by buying small shares of 8 euros in this very precise piece of mine 'Shine of Original Beauty' which responds to Damien Hirts's 'Eternity' made of dead butterflies, sold at 4 Million Sterling.  With every 20 shares of 8 euros I give a signed canvas print of this painting as a gift to the investors. The shares will actually generate revenue for the share-holders when the painting is given out for rentals. The share-holders can also sell their shares later on, when the market price of my paintings increase.

This is how elitism and corruption in the art market can be balanced if we don't like that the art market be dominated only by those who have a 4 million Sterling budget for one single work of a living artist of a relatively young age.

This is also a VISION which buyers can support if they like it.

Lida Sherafatmand


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