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Damien Hirst unveils gilded mammoth skeleton to be auctioned in aid of amfAR

May 20, 2014 by Amie

Damien Hirst has donated ‘Gone but not Forgotten’ (2014) for amfAR's annual Cinema Against AIDS gala, to be held on Thursday 22nd May. In this major new work, Hirst presents the gilded skeleton of a three-metre tall woolly mammoth, in a colossal steel and glass vitrine.


The sculpture forms part of Hirst’s ‘Natural History’ series, which he began in the early 1990s, with work including the shark in formaldehyde, 'The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living' (1991), and the bisected cow and calf, 'Mother and Child (Divided)' (1993).

The unique piece was donated by the artist, to aid amfAR's work in the fight against AIDS. Founded in 1985, amfAR is dedicated to ending the global AIDS epidemic through innovate research. It has invested more than $388 million in its programs and has awarded more than 3,300 grants to research teams worldwide.

Held at the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc, Cinema Against Aids is one of the highlights of the Cannes Film Festival, attracting support from global stars such as Sharon Stone, Heidi Klum and Aishwarya Rai. Artwork by Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg and Julien Schnabel have been auctioned at previous galas.


Simon de Pury, who will conduct the auction of 'Gone but not Forgotten', stated: "Damien Hirst's contribution of a work of this magnitude to amfAR is noteworthy in both the art and philanthropic worlds. Hirst is an unparalleled figure in contemporary art, and this piece embodies themes that resonate with amfAR's history and the new sense of possibility in the search for a cure for HIV/AIDS."

Hirst explained of the piece: "The mammoth comes from a time and place that we cannot ever fully understand. Despite its scientific reality, it has attained an almost mythical status and I wanted to play with these ideas of legend, history and science by gilding the skeleton and placing it within a monolithic gold tank. It's such an absolute expression of mortality, but I've decorated it to the point where it's become something else, I've pitched everything I can against death to create something more hopeful, it is Gone but not Forgotten."

For more information, visit www.amfar.org


'Gone but not Forgotten' (2014) All images are photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2014

View a short film on the fabrication of 'Gone but not Forgotten' (2014) on Damien Hirst's website.