Song Of The Week – Damien Save Me, Dave Stewart

davedamnienDamien Save Me (1994)
 

Damien save me
and be my guide
sooner or later
we’re all gonna die

Background
Dave Stewart wrote Damien Save Me shortly after meeting internationally renowned artist Damien Hirst by chance at an art exhibition in Docklands, London. The song is featured on Stewart’s solo album Greetings from the Gutter; an album Damien Hirst also created the outstanding artwork for. 

The intermedial relationship between words, music, film and art has often played a central role in Stewart’s work and Greetings From the Gutter  is no exception. Hirst’s conceptual art constitutes an important and central intertext in Damien Save Me and Stewart himself has in an interview in ”The Independet” expressed his admiration for Hirst’s installation ”A Thousand Years” (1991). This installation contains an actual life cycle. In a glass case we see a dead cow’s head, maggots and flies being killed by an electric fly-killer. But some of the flies survive and continue the cycle.  

I would also like to add Hirst’s installation Mother and Child Divided (1993) as an important and central intertext in Damien Save Me. This installation displays a cow and a calf both cut length-wise. Each half is floating in a formaldehyde-filled tank and visitors can walk between them and view the animals’ insides. The theme of life and death is here fully and clearly expressed.  

 Analysis

I would say that Damien Save Me is a critical address to Western society where death often has been somewhat denied or at least sanitised. How can we fully appreciate life if we don’t accept the fact that ”sooner or later we’re all gonna die”. The message seems to be: Without death, we wouldn’t know what life is. And therefore we need to accept death as an essential part of life and nature.

gilbertgeorgeIn a broader context Damien Save Me can also be seen as a homage to art and life. In Dave’s universe art is life and life is art. In other words, it’s a case of art and life merging. And I would say this theory is supported by the fact that Dave is a huge admirer of ”the living sculptures” Gilbert and George and their elimination of the distinction between artist and art. Dave even, in line with Gilbert and Georges’ philosophy, ”offers” his body for the sake of art: 

 ”Cut me in half and I’ll let you see what this whole wide world has done to me. I’ll be your sacrifical cow, just tell me when and I’ll show you how”. 

Both of these images on this post are taken from Dave’s photo archives, and will both be on display at the Morrison Hotel Gallery, Del Mar

from November 29th.

Click here to see previous Song Of The Week Entries

Author: Eurythmics News

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