A painting currently on indefinite loan to the Turl Street Kitchen is being offered to a potential buyer for the price of £25 million.
The artist has offered an 8% cut for any student that successfully finds him a buyer who is willing to stump up the full sum. This would amount to a £2 million reward. The painting, created by Oxford artist Mark Bridger, who goes by the acronym Driberg, is supposed to “represent a complete idea of an infinite universe”.
Bridger explained that hidden within the painting was an astronomical theory “about the accelerating expansion of the cosmos”. He went on to describe the piece as “the most important painting ever made”.
The work was produced in 1994, and whilst Bridger admitted he was somewhat naïve back in the 20th Century, he claimed that he still stands by the basic theory. At the time of its conception, the asking price was a modest £7 million. The artist explained, however, that given the theory that the cosmos was expanding had now been “largely accepted by modern scientists”, he felt the painting was now worth considerably more.
Bridger also admitted that “part of the reason for the price is to draw attention to it.” He seemed perfectly content with the fact that no buyer had come forward in the 19 years since its creation, saying: “It looks good where it is.” The piece is currently displayed in the Turl Street Kitchen Library.
The artist came to fame in May 1994 after pouring black ink into Damien Hirst’s ‘Away from the Flock’, a sheep in a tank of formaldehyde, and retitling the work ‘Black Sheep’. Bridger was subsequently prosecuted by Hirst for committing vandalism, and was given a two-year conditional probation. The sculpture was restored at a cost of £1,000.
He subsequently returned the favour, however, by suing Hirst for violating copyright after a recreation of ‘Black Sheep’ was included in a hardback book published by Hirst in 1997.
The Oxford Student is currently unaware of any prospective buyers for the painting.