Damien Hirst And Yayoi Kusama Pumpkins For An Artistic Halloween

The warmest Halloween since UK records began is heating up and what better way to celebrate than to get a pumpkin and carve it! Here are a few artistic ideas to get inspired by. 

‘For the Love of God’ is a platinum skull set with high grade diamonds. It is one of Damien Hirst’s most widely recognised works. Its raw materials define it as an artwork of unprecedented scale. The 32 platinum plates making up ‘For the Love of God’ are set with 8,601 VVS to flawless pavé-set diamonds, weighing a massive 1,106.18 carats. The teeth inserted into the jaw are real and belong to the original skull. The skull from which ‘For the Love of God’ was cast, was purchased from a London taxidermist and subsequently subjected to intensive bioarchaeological analysis and radiocarbon dating. This research revealed it dated from around 1720 – 1810, and was likely to be that of a 35-year-old man of European/Mediterranean ancestry. The title originates from exclamations Hirst’s mother would make on hearing plans for new works when he was starting out as an artist. As he explains: “She used to say, ‘For the love of God, what are you going to do next!’

Artlyst reader Adrian says, “I made a Jack O’ Lantern version of Damien Hirst’s ‘For the Love of God,’ and being in the Halloween spirit, I felt like sharing it.” Here are a few other examples of Halloween spirited decorations with an art slant. The example to the left is a crystal encrusted pumpkin that has been sprayed platinum and looks a bit like crafts from India. The third variation to the right is a pill encrusted pastiche by Mark Kilner. Mark  created this phenomenal sculpture, titled Numbskull. It’s a plastic skull covered in 630 tablets of paracetamol (aka acetaminophen).

But my vote goes to Yayoi Kusama for her fantastic Bronze Pumpkins now on view at the Victoria Miro Gallery. The exhibition comprises a major new series of bronze sculptures on display in the gallery’s unique water garden. The bronze pumpkins have been two years in the making and mark the first time the artist has worked with bronze on such a large scale.

Since her earliest formative years, in a family who made their living cultivating plant seeds, Kusama has been fascinated by the natural world. She has always had an affinity with nature, particularly vegetal and floral life, but the pumpkin continues to occupy a special place in her iconography and is a motif she has returned to repeatedly throughout her career.

Happy Halloween!!!


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