“With an artwork, I try to say something and deny it at the same time.”
‘End of an Era’ was the focal piece in the eponymously titled exhibition presented by Gagosian Gallery, Hong Kong, in 2010. The work consists of the decapitated head of a Charolais bull presented within a gold-plated tank of formaldehyde solution placed on top of a marble plinth.
The bull’s head is crowned with a sun disc of gold, a symbol of pagan deification, in reference to the previous work’s prequel ‘The Golden Calf’ (2008). This earlier ‘Natural History’ work was the focal piece of Hirst’s Sotheby’s 2008 auction ‘Beautiful Inside My Head Forever’. The title refers to the biblical account in the Book of Exodus of the Israelites’ idolatrous worship of a Golden Calf during Moses’s absence. With ‘End of an Era’ Hirst mocks the immortality inferred on his work ‘The Golden Calf’ and immediately debunks the mythologising surrounding ‘Beautiful Inside My Head Forever’.
 Damien Hirst cited in ‘Between fact and wonder – Damien Hirst’s new religious works’, in Damien Hirst, ‘Romance in the Age of Uncertainty’ (White Cube, 2003), 7