Thursday, February 19, 2009

Eugenio Merino's Controversial Damien Hirst Sculpture: For the Love of Gold

4 the Love of Go(l)d by Eugenio Moreno. Photograph: ADN Galeria

British art critics ranging from Robert Hughes to the Stuckists have been suggesting that Damien Hirst has a hole in his head for years. One could say that sculptor Eugenio Merino agrees with said criticism-- but not in the way you might think. Eugenio Merino has created a life-size sculpture of Damien Hirst-- complete with inflated head (representing ego?)-- which places the British art in a suicide pose.
Merino’s Hirst is posed on his knees holding a Colt 45 to his head-- a bloodied bullet wound glistens as blood runs down the sculptures mouth. The sculpture, titled ‘For the Love of Gold’ -- also known as '4 the Love of Go(l)d'-- was unveiled at the 28th Madrid International Contemporary Art Fair (ARCO) alongside other works by Eugenio Merino that parody Damien Hirst’s art and art world status. The sculpture stirred controversy within hours of being unveiled.

Merino has stated that the sculpture-- which has been placed in a tank similar to the tanks used by Damien Hirst to display the remains of animals in formaldehyde-- is symbolic of the financial crisis that is facing the art world. Merino’s controversial sculpture is a parody of Hirst’s ‘For the Love of God’, a widely successful piece involving a diamond encrusted skull that sold for more than $100 million to a group of investors in 2007-- just before the global financial meltdown.

Eugenio Merino has stated that Damien Hirst is too concerned about profit. Merino has suggested to reporters that Hirst should shoot himself since he is so concerned about money, stating that if Hirst did that the value of his work would “increase dramatically“. Merino has made it clear that the sculpture is a “joke” and that he does not wish harm on Damien Hirst-- in fact, Merino is a fan of Hirst and studied his art extensively while in art school. Merino stated, "It is a joke but it is also paradoxical that if he did kill himself his work would be worth even more,". He went on to say that the sculpture is a metaphor for the current state of the art world.

Eugenio Merino’s visual message about the excess and decadence of the art world has taken an ironic twist in that his ‘For the Love of Gold’ has already been purchased for $41,000. Other reports state that all of Merino’s Hirst parodies have been bought by collectors in Portugal and Holland. Which begs the question-- are collectors missing Merino’s message? Perhaps they are unknowing participants. Merino has stated, "It is ironic. I've never sold so much.". For the love of gold, indeed.

A collage by Cartrain involving Damien Hirst's 'For the Love of God'

Damien Hirst has yet to respond concerning Eugenio Merino's controversial sculpture. It will be interesting to see if he responds to Merino in the same way that he responded to Cartrain-- the young British street artist who made parodies of Hirst's 'For the Love of God' not long ago. Cartrain was forced to hand over the profit he made from selling his parodies-- around $200-- as well as the remaining prints and original works. Some reports have stated that Cartrain's prints and original works have since been destroyed. Which begs the question-- will Eugenio Merino's 'For the Love of Gold' share the same fate?

Links of Interest:

'Suicide' sculpture of Damien Hirst causes controversy in Spain
For the Love of God: Damien Hirst Threatens Young Artist with Legal Action
Birds of a Feather Flock Together: Damien Hirst & Shepard Fairey / Cartrain & Baxter Orr
Take care, Stay true,
Brian Sherwin
Senior Editor
New York Art Exchange
London Calling


Anonymous said...

I guess when the economy is bad the best thing to do is to profit off of someone who helped mess up the economy of art in the first place. Surprised this has not been done before.

Anonymous said...

Damien Hirst has yet to respond concerning Eugenio Merino's controversial sculpture.

Along with fame & its resulant insecurity comes passive ego;
A response?
Well, hardly likely from a businessman - **possibly** from an artist though.
He should take a leaf out of (ehem..)'Banksy's' book.
I admire Mr. Hirst's 'campus days(drink, drugs, being non-commital etc.) and there-on ensuing success immensely - but hey, a 'ride' is a 'ride'...... quality and a sound relationship [in art] ought to prevail in the long-run; otherwise, he's reduced to none-more than a small & forgetable 'pellet' of a technician (and of course, only that).

Anonymous said...

I think its an ok Sculpture. You Painters are Alwayz so angry over people who have made it big. It gets old. You all sound like fool children.
Stop it & grow the hell up

Balhatain said...

Anon, is this a painters vs. sculptors debate? :)

MadameM said...

I think it's Merino's sculpture is perfect, of course Damien should sue him. We wouldn't want to upset the universe now, would we?

Anonymous said...

Robert Hughes is Australian, not British.