Quick online update using my friend’s broadband connection (luxury). I did get to the Saatchi Gallery yesterday to see the Damien Hirst retrospective. The pickled animals, while impressive, didn’t do that much for me, but I was cracking up when I saw what appeared to be pharmaceutical labels, but for bottles containing “Meatballs”, “Beans”, and other food products. It’s supposedly a comment on food additives and processing, but I just found the surrealism hilarious. (He’s preaching to the converted on that score.)
Another great Hirstism: a large fish tank, holding a PC and monitor, but with an obstetrics chair in place of the standard one – a comment on how we are born to work, I suppose. Yet the negative pressure is totally absent, courtesy of dozens of fish swimming around freely, without even the conception of work, or any awareness of the futility of their little lives.
The rest of the gallery appeared to be the Sensation exhibition that caused such a furore a couple of years ago. There’s a huge painting of Myra Hindley, in a magnified pointillism (splotchilism?), plus various disturbing works, including lifelike dummies of men in pieces, hanging from a tree, with certain bits hacked off. Tracey Emin’s My Bed went totally over my head, though there were touches of humour in the consumer products spread around the bed, including both condoms and a pregnancy test kit. The most “high concept”, for me, was Marc Quinn’s Self – a cast of the artist’s head in his own blood, kept frozen since 1991.
Tomorrow it’s back to London and then to Dublin, but with a heavy suitcase, holding some clothes, books, and the remains of my CD collection, about 200 CDs with only the inserts, no jewel cases. Let’s see if the people X-raying the case, as it passes through the baggage system, tell the customs people, who may think I’m a software pirate or such. But there are no customs as such within Europe any more, they’re only interested in drugs.