On 10 July 2010 Stephanie and I visited the Musée Océanographique de Monaco and my understanding was that we were going to see an excellent aquarium—guess who planned the itinerary. The first thing I noticed on entering the building was a display of a large shark in a glass case. I spent some time examining the specimen and appreciating the shark. In my head I could not understand why the head had been pulled up in what seemed an unnatural way. I had heard about the work of Damien Hirst: animals in formaldehyde with axes and that type of thing, but it did not dawn on me that I had been studying an example. I discovered that later.
The aquarium was excellent and the scientific historical displays of the Institut Océanographique were very interesting and informative. It was like spending some quality time with Charles Darwin. I missed a lot of the Damien Hirst exhibition because I didn’t know it was there or, if I saw it, I took it to be scientific material. As we were leaving the premises, as is usual in museums, I think we were passing through a gift shop area. I noticed, however, that I was walking right through a bisected sheep and I’m glad to say I noticed that. I had read something in a newspaper somewhere about such a sheep. Perhaps science and art can co-exist.
I have been planning an oil painting based on the two photographs above that I took at the aquarium. The piece below is a study entitled ‘Two blue fish and one yellow.’ It is in charcoal on paper and measures 250 mm × 250 mm.