Hirst's new exhibit of carcasses and flies really is rubbish

Click to follow
The Independent Online

When Damien Hirst first unveiled his animal carcass artwork, some critics claimed it turned their stomachs. Now the artist's neighbours agree.

When Damien Hirst first unveiled his animal carcass artwork, some critics claimed it turned their stomachs. Now the artist's neighbours agree.

The Britart enfant terrible was yesterday at the centre of an investigation after the remains of animals were found in bins outside his studio.

Trading standards officials are investigating the discovery of carcasses amid fears that the animals were disposed of without following the correct procedures. The maximum penalty for possible breaches of the Animal By-Products Regulations 2003 is a £5,000 fine. Residents living near the artist's workshop in the picturesque village of Chalford, Gloucestershire in the Cotswolds, were alerted to the carcasses at the end of their gardens by the pervading stench and the number of flies.

They found a crate by the artist's empty studio containing a pile of animal remains, including a cow's head.

It is not known how long the carcasses had been there, but neighbours first noticed the smell on Wednesday of last week- six days before the remains were finally removed and incinerated.

For some, the smell was such that they were forced to remain indoors over the bank holiday weekend. One neighbour, Clive Eagles, 41, eventually placed a plastic sheet over the crate which was outside the studio on the Chalford industrial estate to smother the smell. "It was disgusting," he said. "It ruined our bank holiday. It was so bad on Sunday night it was coming in the house and making everybody sick."

Camilla Boon, 47, who lives in a converted mill house opposite the site of the disposed animals, added: "I could smell the stench at the end of our garden and it was just revolting. There were swarms of flies hovering over the plastic crate and it was full of animal carcasses."

Hirst has made no secret of his fascination with exploring the boundaries of mortality, frequently with the use of animal carcasses, including sharks, lambs and cows. He is also becoming an increasingly common sight in the village, due to the location of his studio, his nearby country home and the recent purchase of a former 19th-century pub in the village which he intends to restore.

A spokesman for Damien Hirst's company, Science Ltd, said yesterday that the situation had been dealt with and refused to comment further. However, Jon Holmes, a spokesman for the studio, admitted the removal of the carcasses had been delayed but said the smell may have been made worse by residents attempting to cover it.

A spokeswoman for Gloucestershire County Council confirmed that an investigation had been launched.

Comments