For The Love Of God 2007

We will all die, despite the material possessions we have or gain in this life. The Artists father always kept a human skull as a decorative ashtray. This used to be a person – just like us – that died – just like we will. This bothered her. Furthermore, using the scull to put out your cigarettes was like ‘cheating’ death in a way- mocking it.

Inspired by the new smoking laws in South Africa, a smoking room was created in a 6 foot walk in fridge/freezer. The temperature was set to that of a morgue – this would be the smoke room. A table was placed inside- with the skull ashtray on it. Around the ashtray lighters were scattered with Palestinian leaders on them. Outside, sat a cigarette machine.

Instead of the prices of the different packets of cigarettes, the words ‘For the love of God’ ran across the digital price display screen.

“But you see for me, something like this Hirst thing…uhm artwork, is that it…that it…And this is one of the problems with art. The problem is that it is outside of lived reality/experience. You go into a space and you like: ‘Okay now I am experiencing art…’ So you shift your head, and you look at things in what is essentially an artificial way. For me the power of your work is that you are blurring those lines. There is a subtlety to your work, where these elements are combined … (Referring to the medium used)…it is something I respect in nature and God (if there is such a thing). It is the sheer surreality of lived reality like this.”
– From interview with Peter van Straaten

Edited by Lauren Louise Hammond