The focus of this essay will be on an analysis on Damien Hirst’s sculpture, from the ‘Freeze’ exhibition, entitled ‘This little piggy went to market, this little piggy went home’. This analysis will make use of Barnard’s definition of denotative meaning and how the formal elements contribute to the connotative function of the work.
Barnard (intext) defines denotation as the literal nature and explanation of what the image contains. In this case, Damien Hirst’s sculpture (figure 1) constitutes of two sides of a pig, severed in half and positioned in a translucent glass tank of formaldehyde. With closer inspection it becomes evident that the sculpture piece is further detailed with a painted stainless steel white frame and a motorized painted steel base. In contrast, however, connotation is the second order of signification or meaning. Barnard (intext) describes connotative meaning as the way an image makes someone feel or think, it may also be the associations the viewer places with that image
Damien Hirst makes use of the formal elements in order to contribute to this connotative function of the sculptural piece. He does so by using the formal elements to highlight the main subject matter of the installation, this being the pig, enhancing the sculptures shock value and using it as a catalyst for public controversy and form of social commentary.
This function is evident in the sculpture’s perfect, uniform, geometric lines, which are created by the linear arrangement of the inorganic shaped tank. This structural and repetitive use of lining is apparent in the scientific, clean dimensions of the tank and the white frame surrounding it. In contrast, however, the lining of the pig itself is very natural, and is emphasized by the juxtaposition of the geometric lines in the tank. The direction of line varies due to the shape and curvature of the pig providing a dynamic vibrant effect, adding to the comical aspect of the sculpture, thus providing a strong indication of Hirst’s subversion of the concept of death and animal slaughtering.
Furthermore, the use of geometric lining gives off the impression of an educational, scientific enviroment. This statement is further supported by the biological cross section and display of the pig.
The use of colour also adds to the shocking function of the sculptural piece. The colour is organic and subtle. However, it is constantly changing due to the different play of light shining throuogh the translucent...