Damien Hirst is the British artist who has been influential for decades and continues to be a prominent figure. He is one of the key members of the former 'Young British Artists (YBA).' Within the conceptual art movement, the idea behind an artwork takes precedence over its appearance and the materials used. The title "The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living" leaves little to the imagination. The artwork clearly addresses life and death, a timeless theme in art: transience.
The artwork is over 5 meters long, 2 meters high, and 2 meters wide. With its gaping jaws, the shark is quite impressive and slightly intimidating. Hirst intended it to be this way, believing that a bit of shock value is often the quickest route to fame in art. To those who say, "Anyone could have done that," Hirst has a clear message: "But you didn't, did you?"
Hirst created the shark in 1991 at the beginning of his career for art collector Charles Saatchi. It marked a global breakthrough for Hirst. In 2004, the artwork was sold for 8 million dollars. However, the piece began to decay, and it has since been replaced. The shark's decay, despite the formaldehyde, is attributed to Hirst's method. He was said to have been too frugal with the substance, and alcohol might have worked better. So...
The artwork prompted us to ponder on how shark fin soup is made, both without and with the controversial use of shark fins. Shark fin soup has been a Chinese delicacy for over a thousand years; it was served during the reign of Emperor Taizu (15th century) as a symbol of his power, strength, and generosity. Since then, the dish gained increasing popularity until the Communists banned it. It only made a comeback in the 1980s.
Recipe for Shark Fin Soup:
The base is a chicken broth infused with (dried) shark fins. Thicken it with potato starch until it is slightly syrupy, then further bind it with egg whites. Season with light soy sauce and/or salt and pepper. Garnish with julienned leeks, ham, and/or shark fin meat. 祝您就餐愉快