“The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living”

“The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living” by Damien Hirst

When exploring the work of the Young British Artists (YBA) I came across a contemporary piece of art called “The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living” by Damien Hirst. I was struck by this image of a shark within what seemed to be three tanks, not only is it a bold statement but it makes you feel some sort of fear about it even though its not real. When I researched more about this sculpture, I learnt that the whole idea behind the image was how we “ try and avoid [death], but it’s such a big thing that you can’t “and how the name was created to “ describe the idea of death to myself”. Looking back at the sculpture and knowing these facts, I felt that the shark was meant to represent the fear that we all have of death and the afterlife. Whilst some believe in heaven and hell, others reincarnation and others no life at all, perhaps Hirst wanted to capture that he had no sense in what would come after death and so he was trying to illustrate his own fear of the unknown. The way in which the sharks mouth is opened could illustrate the spiritual side of death, as some believe that spirts that are not ready to move on stay on earth and will find some way to communicate with us through energy which shows that they are calling out for help.

The use of the thirteen foot shark also explains how death is a significant part of everyone's life, and that it is birth and death which make everyone alike. The use of the shark being in a box, in my eyes, shows how when we die we are enclosed off from the world and it could also be a representation of a coffin and how that will become a persons new habitat like the sharks tank . Overall this image is striking and creates a bold statement that to many may just look like a shark in a tank but to me shows the fear and isolation that we face when we die

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