A surgeon who secretly branded his initials into patients’ livers during operations has been hailed by the art establishment as ‘an exciting new talent to rival Banksy’.
Simon Bramhall, who works at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, was suspended before Christmas following the allegation that he had marked a patient, but defended himself saying his work was ‘an ironic commentary on the state of Coalition Britain and its place in a changing world.”
The owner of the liver, named only as Mr X, was said to be surprised to wake up from routine surgery to find a large crowd of bystanders turning up to view the work. “I’ve never owned any art before,” he told journalists today. “It feels sort of special. And sore.”
Guardian art critic Adrian Searle welcomed the discovery of a major new talent in the UK’s underground artistic scene: “Bramhall’s work is literally vital,” he explained. “The subversive aesthetic of the corruption of the very organ which is itself the body’s filter for impurities – what the artist is saying here is that life today really does depend on the liver.”
“And by that I mean ‘the person who is living’, as well as ‘the human hepatic organ’ – stop me if I’m getting too clever.”
There has been speculation for some time around the identity of the mystery artist who had been burning his initials into people’s livers, with many names from the modern British art scene being proposed as possible candidates. “With hindsight,” admitted Searle, “The fact that all these people had recently had liver surgery performed by someone with the same initials should have been a give-away.”
The local council, while recognising the importance of the work, have spoken out against being seen to be soft on graffiti, and have offered to remove the liver, which Mr X has so far resisted.
One unexpected result of the publicity has been that the artist, seeing the value of his work increase, has already mentioned that he may choose to take advantage by selling the liver to a rich overseas bidder. This would apparently be a simple matter of asserting his copyright to the work, which Mr X may not be able to defeat.
When asked about this, Mr X insisted that he is “very attached” to the artwork, and has sworn to fight to stop it being taken away.
“Over my dead body!” he declared defiantly.