Gow Langsford Gallery opened the doors of its new gallery premises at 26 Lorne St, Auckland on 20 May 2008, with a group exhibition; the highlight of which is a work by infamous UK artist, Damien Hirst. The work entitled Sacred XIV (2005) consists of a dagger piercing a pig’s heart and suspended in a tank of formaldehyde.
Hirst has become famous for his controversial series in which dead animals have been preserved in formaldehyde; the most celebrated being a 14 foot tiger shark in the iconic, The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living (2004). This piece sold in 2006 to a New York collector for £12 million (NZD$30.5m). More recently Hirst attracted widespread media attention for the diamond encrusted skull titled For The Love of God (2007) which consisted of a human skull recreated in platinum and adorned with 8,601 diamonds weighing a total of 1,106.18 carats.Further controversy ensued when it was reported that ‘a group of investors’ had purchased the skull and that both Hirst and his dealer, Jay Jopling had a stake in the artwork. For the Love of God was priced at £50 million (NZD$127m) setting a record as the most expensive work of art for sale by a living artist.
Accompanying the Hirst in the exhibition are works by prominent international artists Tony Cragg (UK), Liu Fei (China), Shen Xiochun (China) and Ruud Van Empel (Netherlands), along with featured New Zealand artists Chris Heaphy and James Cousins.
Gow Langsford’s new gallery space is situated on the ground floor of the former ‘Lorne Street backpackers’ building. It has been completely refurbished and is a welcome transition for the gallery, its generous dimensions facilitating the optimum exhibition of large scale sculpture and painting.