Damien Hirst says chemistry is exciting
08 June 2006
Virgin Mother, Damien Hirst
The RSC had earlier sent Damien Hirst's office a shot of his new monumental bronze artwork called The Virgin Mother which stands outside the RSC HQ in London.
The 40 foot artwork that has caused a big stir in London following its unveiling depicts a pregnant girl which, seen from one side, appears as a giant anatomical model with thigh, breast tissue, eye socket and skull revealed.
With the picture the RSC sought the artist's views on the image of chemistry as his company is called Science and because he has a well-documented fascination with the Periodic Table which has inspired much of his recent work.
What could be done to change perceptions of chemistry or to render the subject glamorous like forensic science or medicine have become?
"Hard to say but perhaps it's something to do with how the subject is perceived by the kids through the media - I mean look at the medical and forensic shows that are on TV, however far from the truth. The fact that chemistry isn't seen as an exciting subject at school, that it involves equations and other disciplines, etc. is also probably something to do with it. How is it taught ? What are its applications? In reality Chemistry is one of the sciences that shows us the building blocks of life. If that's not exciting enough then what is?
If you were shipwrecked on a desert island for five years with a group of people and the others had to be either all scientists or all artists which grouping would you rather live and work with?
"Ideally a mix of both, but in the end artists, i maybe wrong here, but didn't Albert Einstein say "intelligence without imagination is nothing'.
"I find artists resourceful when imaginative solutions are needed against overwhelming challenges. Not to say Chemists aren't resourceful but rules don't always count and of course, artists take on a better flavour when barbecued!"
Is the foetus in the courtyard artwork male or female?
"Neither Male or female"
Do you have any comments on the way that chemistry is taught, projected or received? Please email Brian Emsley with your comments.
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