Letter: The thought behind a pig-headed centrefold

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Sir: I was interested to read the arts diary 'Artefacts' (19 April), which mentioned Damien Hirst's modelling and artistic debut in Esquire magazine. Since your diarist bemoans the 'lack of explanatory or critical text', I thought I would offer some assistance.

I commissioned Damien to create an art work for six pages of the magazine. Esquire features strong, well- taken photographs that are acceptable to the eye. Damien wanted to challenge this by creating a feature that deliberately contradicts the rest of the magazine, and is itself full of conflict and irony.

The spread works on many levels. The pig's head, traditionally a symbol of ignorance, would be acceptable in the context of a cookery book, a veterinary manual or pathology textbook. It is, however, out of place in a men's magazine. Featured as a centrefold, the spread is reminiscent of a traditional porn magazine; the antithesis of a magazine such as Esquire.

One can literally open up the head of the pig by opening the magazine. This is a centrefold spread that enables you to look inside the subject and become more involved with it, even if it makes you want to close it immediately and shut the image out.

As for the suit, Damien chose to wear it because the idea of wearing such an expensive fashion item creates a conflicting image, which to him was as outrageous and contradictory as the image of the pig's head in Esquire.

Yours sincerely,




London, W1

21 April

(Photograph omitted)