Letter to Damien Hirst :

Damien Hirst’s Magnificence exhibited in Venice # 1

Damien,

I want you to know that, regardless of your existence, my heart and my eyes, my mouth and my genitals reside in two God forsaken places on this planet: London and Venice. And I also want you to know that as I woke up this morning from uneasy dreams and found myself transformed in my bed into a gigantic insect. I was lying on my back in the dark trying to forget this (yet another) horrible terror / terrorist / terrible attack on London Saturday night. In fact, on my way to London – from Zurich – I had been (obsessively so) studying “Death in Venice” and (again and again) reliving Richard Wagner’s final hours and so on.

Damien, I want you to know that, regardless of your existence, I am going to be 63 years old in less than one month from now. Have I accomplished something in life? Well…. Not sure. Depending on the scale, by some measure or degree, some people would say…yes. In my case…I’m writing to tell you that you have just humiliated me (yet again) and that your work, the grandiosity of which, has left me as speechless as did “Finnegan’s Wake” or….”The Making of Americans” or “Guernica” or this senseless sense of horror one feels when emerging from a ‘wired wrong’ terror scene, such as the one on London Bridge of Borough Market this last Saturday. I feel a little – or a little less – than Gregor Samsa in Kafka’s Metamorphosis. Am I reliving the entire Third Reich because of your work? Am I holding you responsible for making me feel things that your (and mine) antecedents have undergone, horror stories of life and death under gas and under torture…under persecution and under so much suffering? WILL IT EVER STOP? Damien? Will it EVER STOP ?

Gerald Thomas

June 5, 2017

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