Tuesday 18 January 2011 by Jamie Tuck

Artist Damien Hirst courts controversy with diamond studded turd


Bad boy artist Damien Hirst has sparked controversy by using a freshly laid human turd in his latest work of art.

The stool, cast in platinum and embedded with over 16,000 diamonds, is now on display for the first time at the Gagosian art gallery in Hong Kong and is expected to visit London in the spring.

“I was reading Art Weekly while taking a crap in one of my mansions,” Hirst said at the opening of his exhibition ‘Mindless Pap’.

“It was a particularly satisfying dump and I couldn’t help but admire my creation. Then the idea just hit me, right between the eyes, as they say. Nature is a sublime artist.”

Hirst, who notoriously does none of the work on his pieces himself, passed the idea on to one of his gallery assistants. And the work, ‘Poo What A Stinker’, was soon under way.

“It isn’t actually a Hirst bowel movement,” said Jasmine Bonaville-Browne, the head of the artist’s company. “It was laid by one of his assistants on the studio floor.”

“Doing a poo is a symbol of the fragility of existence. It is a metaphor for how we all pass through life’s bowel and end up as waste, as fertiliser. It’s very much part of Damien’s interest in death and the afterlife.”

Damien Hirst latest Exhibition

Hirst made his name and his fortune shocking the public with controversial art works including dissected sharks and pickled sheep.

Poo What A Stinker follows Hirst’s 2007 work For the Love of God, a 50 million pounds diamond encrusted skull which became the world’s most expensive contemporary artwork and the largest diamond piece commissioned since the Crown Jewels.

Currently on display at the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, it was first exhibited at the White Cube Gallery in Mayfair, where thousands of people queued to view it in a high-security darkened chamber.

Studded with more than 8,600 diamonds, including a £4.2 million pink diamond set at its forehead, it has been described as “an anthropomorphised disco ball”, “a cosmic wonder”, “the vulgar embodiment of modern materialism” and, by Hirst himself, as “quite bling”.

On the new work, art critic Myfanwy Winnette said: “This is Damien’s finest work to date. I think it’s marvelous. I’m not sure how much it will sell for, but it’ll be shitloads.”

At the opening of Hirst’s latest exhibition, which also includes works such as a penis shaped balloon and a wasp playing banjo, admirers were confused by the centrepiece.

One punter Nick McWinter said: “Is this art? Looks like a pile of shite to me.”

The artist is believed now to be working on a ruby studded potato.

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