Image credit Damien Hirst The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living 1991 © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved. DACS 2011. . Photo: Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates
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| Published ||July 10, 2012 at 03:43pm|
| Seen ||529 times|
Tate Modern, Installation, London, United-Kingdom
Wednesday April 4, 2012 - Sunday September 9, 2012 - Event ended.
Damien Hirst first came to public attention in London in 1988 when he conceived and curated Freeze, an exhibition in a disused warehouse which showed his work and that of his friends and fellow students at Goldsmiths College. In the nearly quarter of a century since that pivotal show, Hirst has become one of the most influential artists of his generation.
Sponsored by the Qatar Museums Authority
Curated by Ann Gallagher, with Loren Hansi Momodu
This is the first substantial survey of his work in a British institution and brings together key works from over twenty years. The exhibition includes iconic sculptures from his Natural History series, including The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living 1991, in which he suspended a shark in formaldehyde. Also included are vitrines such as A Thousand Years from 1990, medicine cabinets, pill cabinets and instrument cabinets in addition to seminal paintings made throughout his career using butterflies and flies as well as spots and spins. The two-part installation In and Out of Love, not shown in its entirety since its creation in 1991 and Pharmacy 1992 are among the highlights of the exhibition.
English sculptor, installation artist, painter and printmaker. He was a leading figure in the group of ‘Young British Artists'. He studied at Goldsmiths College, London (1986–9), and in 1988 curated the exhibition Freeze. His works are explicitly concerned with the fundamental dilemmas of human existence; his constant themes have included the fragility of life, society's reluctance to confront death, and the nature of love and desire, often clothed in titles which exist somewhere between the naive and the disingenuous.
Dead animals are frequently used in Hirst's installations, forcing viewers to consider their own and society's attitudes to death. Containers such as aquariums and vitrines are used as devices to impose control on the fragile subject-matter contained within them and as barriers between the viewer and the viewed. The animals are preserved as in life, but at the same time are emphatically dead, with their entrails and flesh exposed.
Hirst's paintings can be seen as a foil to his sculptural work, though they are similarly inconclusive. The ‘spot' paintings are named after pharmaceutical stimulants and narcotics, the chemical enhancers of human emotion, and yet take the form of mechanical and unemotional Minimalist paintings. Their detachment is further emphasised by the exploitation of procedures that can be simply carried out by assistants under his instruction. Hirst's interest in contemporary society is further reflected in collaborative pop music projects and in his designs for the Pharmacy and Quo Vadis restaurants, London. He was awarded the Turner Prize in 1995.
Artist Rooms artist essay
Damien Hirst is the most prominent artist to have emerged from the British art scene in the 1990s. His role as an artist and curator has proved fundamental in the development of the group that became internationally known as ‘the YBAs’ (Young British Artists). Hirst’s work asks viewers to question the main dilemmas of human existence: birth, illness, death and religion.
The ARTIST ROOMS collection comprises five important works spanning Hirst’s career including photography, painting, sculpture and installation. The early photograph taken in a morgue, With Dead Head is included, displaying an early preoccupation with death.
Away from the Flock - one of his ‘Natural History’ works featuring dead animals floating in vitrines - is also on show, featuring a sheep floating in formaldehyde. The lamb looks alive but is dead, and references the religious theme of the lamb of God. Religion is explored further in the large triptych work, Trinity - Pharmacology, Physiology, Pathology, in which medical products become a replacement for faith.
Hirst is also recognised for his mirrored pharmacy cabinets lined with shelves full of drug bottles, pills, sea shells or cigarette butts, and his paintings, both which he produces in series. Included in this collection is the early Controlled Substances Key Painting (Spot 4a), a canvas where a grid of dots of different colours is accompanied by letters in alphabetical order that seem to dissect and reorganise the very matter of painting into cells.
The most recent painting in the collection, the large butterfly diptych Monument to the Living and the Dead, was made by Hirst specifically for Anthony d’Offay’s collection.