Colour photograph on paper
Collection of the Tate, United Kingdom
“Pietà” is a photograph of Fairhurst lying limp and naked in the arms of a stuffed gorilla in a pose that mimics that of the dead Christ in his mother’s arms, the classic Pieta form seen in much of Christianity’s religious art of the Renaissance. In his right hand, Fairhurst grasps the camera’s cable release. With closed eyes and the protective cradling and downcast face of the gorilla connotations of death are unavoidable.
Young British Artists, Installation Art, Performance Art, Conceptual Art
Born: 4 October 1966, Kent, UK
Died: 29 March 2008, Argyll and Bute, Scotland
Fairhurst was an artist working in installation, photography, and video. The ‘quiet man’ of the Young British Artists, his sophisticated and understated practice reveals an artist interested in poignant meditations on life, individual experiences, and society. His work has been overshadowed by his suicide, but his creations investigated questions of self-awareness, his own life, and vanity using visual cues including animals and magazine images