The formaldehyde sculpture of a white unicorn by Damien Hirst shows a real white foal, with a unicorn-like horn coming out of its head. With his formaldehyde shark sculptures, Hirst forces the viewer to look at a beast that could easily kill them, which makes some people secretly glad that the shark is dead, but here the viewer is forced to look at an animal that they would be happy to leave their children play with. The white foal has not only been bottled for the art viewing public, but it has also been made to look like a fictional character.
The 2008 work by Damien Hirst was one of the lots in the Sotheby’s auction called “Beautiful Inside My Head Forever” where the artist sidestepped the traditional gallery system to sell works directly through an auction house.
Damien Hirst said “After the success of the Pharmacy auction, I always felt I would like to do another auction. It’s a very democratic way to sell art and it feels like a natural evolution for contemporary art. Although there is
risk involved, I embrace the challenge of selling my work in this way. I never want to stop working with my galleries. This is different. The world’s changing, ultimately I need to see where this road leads.”
(His Pharmacy auction sold 168 lots through Sotheby’s, raising $20,063,528 in 2004)