Hirst enjoys putting sharks in formaldehyde
While many of the headlines this week have been about the turmoil in the financial markets, one British artist has been bucking the trend by turning a healthy profit.
In fact, Damien Hirst, a conceptual artist best-known for pickling sharks in formaldehyde, has broken records by taking an astonishing £111m (1,355m yuan) during a two-day auction of his work in London this week.
In total 223 of his creations were up for grabs in the groundbreaking sale at British auction house Sotheby's. Normally artists sell their work via galleries, but by cutting out the middleman, Hirst will happily pocket the difference.
Art expert Charles Dupplin said, "It's another landmark and an astounding day for the art market in a year that has seen many long-standing records demolished, despite the gloomy world economy."
Hirst's work has received mixed reactions from the press in the past but it has consistently sold for high prices. Last year his diamond-encrusted skull was valued at £50m (612m yuan), making it the costliest single work of art ever.
The most expensive item at this year's auction was The Golden Calf: a real calf in a tank of formaldehyde with 18-carat hooves, horns and a gold disc on its head, which sold for £9.2m (112m yuan).
But while art collectors from around the world have been scrambling to pick up an original Damien Hirst piece in London this week, not everyone is so enamoured with his work.
A spokesperson for the Stuckist movement, which favours figurative over conceptual art, said, "It's obvious the art world has gone stark raving bonkers."
Indeed, people frequently question the boundaries of what is and what isn't art. In a world where modern art has become increasingly conceptual, perhaps the most useful definition we can turn to is that of the late American artist Andy Warhol, who said, "Art is what you can get away with."
However you define art, Hirst should be laughing all the way to the bank.