Monday, June 04, 2007

Damien Hirst: Beyond Belief

For the Love of God2007Platinum, diamonds and human teeth6 3/4 x 5 x 7 1/2 in. (17.1 x 12.7 x 19.1 cm)Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates

This Damian Hurst guy is the bomb i feel this is one is a 'must do' on my list of things to see with my own eyes .
While it has nothing to do with mas directly, there is a theme in the work, that designers of mas should take note of, when they say their theme is 'such and such', but you can't see not only how the mas came about but a connection can be made between the mas and the theme.
1 Jun—7 Jul 2007Hoxton Square and Mason's YardViewing 'For the Love of God', the artist's diamond skull, at White Cube Mason's Yard is restricted to ticket entry only. Tickets are available from White Cube Mason's Yard on the day or to book in advance please click HERE.
White Cube is pleased to announce a major solo exhibition of new work by Damien Hirst. Taking place at both White Cube Hoxton Square and White Cube Mason’s Yard, Beyond Belief is the most significant and ambitious exhibition of new work by the artist to date.
In this exhibition, Hirst continues to explore the fundamental themes of human existence – life, death, truth, love, immortality and art itself. In two new series of paintings – the Birth Paintings and the Biopsy Paintings – Hirst confronts, as he puts it, ‘the intense joy and deep-set anxiety we can all feel in hospitals, where we are surrounded by both creation and decay’. The Birth Paintings, which depict the birth of the artist’s youngest son Cyrus by Caesarean section in August 2005, are brutal, yet tender, images of the horror and beauty of childbirth.
The Biopsy Paintings, on the other hand, are based on biopsy images of thirty different forms of cancer and other terminal illnesses that the artist sourced from the Science Photo Library. In this series Hirst uses broken glass, scalpel blades and blood-like pools of paint in sumptuous, abstract swathes that repel and attract in equal measure. ‘I’ve always thought that art is a map of a person’s life, so it naturally changes as you change and get older’, Hirst said recently. ‘I suppose since I’ve become a father, I think even more about the end.’
There are twelve new sculptures, including seven major formaldehyde works from the ongoing Natural History series. Death Explained, originally conceived as a drawing in 1991, presents a tiger shark divided longitudinally with each half of its body suspended in a separate tank of formaldehyde. The shark, which Hirst once summed up as ‘a thing to describe a feeling’, has been dissected, allowing the viewer to walk through the interior of the animal and perhaps to understand it more fully. But in the end, as Hirst has observed of death, ‘you are left with no answers, only questions’.
Several works address the complex relations between art, science and religion. Arguably more than any artist of his generation, Hirst is preoccupied by the Western tradition of Christian iconography. Saint Sebastian, Exquisite Pain savagely decants the Saint’s martyrdom into a single tank containing a black calf, its body pierced by dozens of arrows and cable-tied to a steel post. In God Alone Knows, a triptych featuring three flayed and crucified sheep in three tanks, Hirst re-presents the visceral brutality of Christ’s death, and yet there is an unexpectedly quiet beauty in the way the forlorn and tragic figures appear to float against their mirrored grounds, as if resurrected. Hirst reconstructs the final phase of the Nativity in The Adoration. A steel and glass vitrine is divided, one half of which is then sub-divided into three equal spaces that each contain a sheep, kneeling in supplication to a cast sterling-silver skeleton of an infant, housed in an incubation unit. Here, Hirst throws into sharp focus conflicting notions of belief, devotion and conformity.
The exhibition’s dramatic culmination, For the Love of God, is a life-size cast of a human skull in platinum, covered entirely by 8,601 VVS to flawless pavĂ©-set diamonds, weighing a total of 1,106.18 carats. It is without precedent in the history of art. On one level, the work is a traditional ‘Memento Mori’, an object that addresses the transience of human existence. ‘The skull is out of this world, celestial almost’ writes the distinguished art historian Rudi Fuchs. ‘It proclaims victory over decay. At the same time’, Fuchs continues, ‘it represents death as something infinitely more relentless. Compared to the tearful sadness of a vanitas scene, the diamond skull is glory itself’. Damien Hirst was born in 1965 in Bristol, UK. He lives and works in London and Devon. For the past two decades he has been widely acknowledged as the most important and influential artist of his generation.A fully illustrated catalogue, with texts by Will Self and Hans Ulrich Obrist, will accompany the exhibition. In addition, a book entitled For the Love of God: the Making of the Diamond Skull with an essay by Rudi Fuchs will be published.
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