Damien Hirst
  • Till Death Do Us Part
  • The Cure
  • I love You
  • Two Weeks One Summer
  • Introduction

  • Bio

  • Exhibitions

  • Publications

  • Links

At the beginning there was a dot. Circular, neither too large nor too small, unimposing, coloured. One dot, plain and simple. It stood on the wall of a warehouse in London, an area converted into an exhibition space. Other dots soon appeared around this dot, equidistant from one another, painted onto the wall. A square grid of coloured dots emerged. To prove how diverse such a grid of coloured dots could be, Damien Hirst painted a second next to it. They were called “Edge” and “Row”.
The effect was so effortlessly successful, the focus on a theme so profound. How can colours so concentrated, so bare, and yet so full of meaning, become art, become an image style? “Edge” and “Row” were both a product and the beginning of an artistic approach to colour that has been continually evolving since 1988.
Some of the grids remind us of medicines in the pharmaceutical industry. The soft pastel colours and uniform patterns of the coloured pills suggest a pain-free zone. The cryptic title given to the series by Hirst is also evocative of pharmaceutical ingredients. They have names that, were you to place them next to one another and read aloud, would sound like a poem in concrete prose: Mepromate Lepidine Histidyl - Abalone Acetone Powder.
The transferability of meaning and the transformation of content is very much in keeping with the style of the artist. One might recall the live tiger shark Hirst submerged in formalin in 1991. A silent killer of the deepest oceans, it looked out at the viewers from inside an enormous blue container, mouth wide open, teeth razor sharp. The threatening work was given the name “The physical impossibility of death in the mind of someone living”. Can anyone divide public opinion and whip the global art market into a frenzy in such a way? In 2007 he produced a human skull made from platinum and encrusted with 8601 pure diamonds, including a 52 carat diamond centrepiece mounted on the forehead. The skull was bought by an investment group for around $100 million. The plot thickened as we later learned that Hirst himself was a member of the group.
Hirst’s art is created to be ambivalent and revolves around a focal point in his thinking: “I’ve got an obsession with death … But I think it’s like a celebration of life rather than something morbid”. Whether preserving animals in formalin, creating kaleidoscopic images from butterflies, or covering skull x-rays with captivating colour mixtures, the young Tate Modern artist always manages to give death a smile.

Stephan Reisner
1965   Born in Bristol, UK
1986-1989Goldsmith College „Fine Arts“
1988Curator of the exhibition „Freeze“, Surrey Docks, London, UK
1990Curator of the exhibition „Modern Medicine“, Building One, London, UK
2007The artwork “For the Love of God” is sold for € 75 Million and is the most expensive work of contemporary art according to British media reports
Lives in Devon and has Studios in London, Gloucester and Devon, UK

Awards (Selection)

1995  Turner Prize

Solo Exhibitions (Selection)

2012  Damien Hirst. Retrospective at Tate Modern, London, UK
Damien Hirst: The Complete Spot Paintings 1986-2011, Gagosian Gallery, New York, Beverly Hills, London, Paris, Rom, Genf, Athen, Hong Kong
Damien Hirst Donation, Arken Museum of Modern Art, Ishøj, Dänemark
2011Damien Hirst: Artist Rooms, Tate Britain, London, UK
2010Cornucopia, Musée océanographique de Monaco, Monte Carlo, Monaco
For the Love of God, Palazzo Vecchio, Florenz, Italien
2009Nothing Matters, White Cube/ Huxton Square/ Mason Yard, London, UK
2008Requiem, PinchukArtCentre, Kiew, Ukraine
For the Love of God, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Niederlande
Damien Hirst, Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, USA
2007Damien Hirst: Life, Death and Love, Kunsthuset Kabuso, Øystese, Norwegen
Damien Hirst: Four Works from the Board Art Foundation, Portland Art Museum, Portland, USA
2006The Death of God – Towards a Better Understanding of a Life Without God Aboard the Ship of Fools, Galeria Hilario Galguera, Mexico City, Mexiko
2005Damien Hirst, Astrup Fearnley Museet fur Moderne Kunst, Oslo, Norwegen
A Selection of Works by Damien Hirst from Various Collections, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, USA
2004The Agony and the Ecstasy: Selected Works from 1989 – 2004, Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli, Neapel, Italien
2003Romance in the Age of Uncertainty, White Cube/Hoxton Square, London, UK

Group Exhibitions (Selection)

2012Regarding Warhol: Sixty Artists, Fifty Years, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA
Art and Press, ZKM/ Museum of Contemporary Art, Karlsruhe, Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin, Deutschland
12 Rooms: Ruhr Triennale 2012, Museum Folkwang, Essen, Deutschland
British Design 1948 – 2012: Innovation in the Modern Age, Victoria Albert Museum, London, UK
Made in Britain: Modern Art from the British Council Collection, Benaki Museum, Athen, Griechenland
2011O’Clock: time design, design time, Triennale di Milano, Mailand, Italien
In the Name of the Artists – American Contemporary Art from the Astrup Fearnley Collection, Bienal pavilion, Sao Paulo, Brasilien
Selected works from the Francois Pinault Collection: Agony and Ecstasy, ongeun Artspace, Seoul, Korea
Yokohama Triennale, Yokohama Museum of Art, Japan
Fondazione Prada _ Ca'Corner della Regina, Prada Foundation, Venedig, Italien
The Luminous Interval, Guggenheim, Bilbao, Spanien
2010Plus Ultra, Macro, Rom, Italien
Have You Ever Really Looked at the Sun?, Haunch of Vension, Berlin, Deutschland
I LOVE YOU, ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Arhus, Dänemark
C’est la vie: Vanités de Caravage à Damien Hirst, Musée Maillol, Paris, Frankreich
2009BAROCK – Art, Science, Faith and Technology in the Contemporary Age, MADRE, Neapel, Italien
Medicine and Art: Imagining a Future for Life and Love, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan
Pop Life, Tate Modern, London, UK, 2010 Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Deutschland
15 Years of Collecting - Against the Grain, Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Deutschland
Spridd isolerad konst (Scattered and Isolated Art), Kalmar Art Museum, Kalmar, Schweden
2008Drei. Das Triptychon In Der Moderne, Kunstmuseum Stuttgart, Deutschland
Art, Price and Value – Contemporary art and the market, Palazzo Strozzi, Florenz, Italien
Statuephilia, British Museum, London, UK
END GAME – British Contemporary Art from the Chaney Family Collection, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, USA
Blood on Paper: The Art of the Book, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK
Color Chart: Reinventing Color, 1950 to Today, MOMA, New York, USA
The Inaugural Installation, Broad Contemporary Art Museum at LACMA, Los Angeles, USA
2007Art Machines – Machine Art, Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt/M, Deutschland 
Reflection, PinchukArtCentre, Kiew, Ukraine
Turner Prize: A Retrospective, Tate Britain, London, UK
Contemporary and Cutting Edge: Pleasures of Collecting, Part III, Bruce Museum, Greenwich, USA
David Bailey & Damien Hirst: The Stations of the Cross, Essl Museum of Contemporary Art, Wien, Österreich
RE-OBJECT, Kunsthaus Bregenz, Bregenz, Österreich
Draw, Middlesborough Institute of Modern Art, Middlesborough, UK
2006Aftershock: Contemporary British Art, 1990-2006, Guangdong Museum of Art, Peking, China
The François Pinault Collection, a Post-Pop Selection, Palazzo Grassi, Venedig, Italien
RADAR: Selections from the Collection of Vicki & Kent Logan, Denver Art Museum, USA
Visitaciones, Museo de San Carlos, Mexico City, Mexiko
Into Me / Out of Me, PS1 MOMA, New York, USA
Tokyo Blossoms: Deutsche Bank Collection meets Zaha Hadid, Hara Museum, Tokyo, Japan
2005Rückkehr ins All/ Return to Space, Hamburger Kunsthalle, Deutschland
Douglas Gordon’s The Vanity of Allegory, Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin, Deutschland
Contemporary Voices: Works from the UBS Art Collection, MOMA, New York, USA
Prague Biennale 2, Prag, Tschechien
2004From Moore to Hirst: Sixty Years of British Sculpture, National Museum Of Art, Bukarest, Rumänien
Intra-muros, Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain, Nizza, Frankreich
Works and Days: Acquisitions for the Louisiana Collection 2000-2004, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Dänemark
Monument To Now, Nea Ionia Exhibition Space, DESTE Foundation for Contemporary Art, Athen, Griechenland
La Collection d’Art Contemporain D’Agnes B, Les Abattoirs, Toulouse, Frankreich
Secrets of the ‘90s, Museum voor Moderne Kunst Arnhem, Arnhem, Niederlande
In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, Tate Britain, London, UK
Turning Points: 20th Century British Sculpture, Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, Teheran, Iran
2003Dreams and Conflicts: The Dictatorship of the Viewer, 50. Biennale Venedig, Italien
1997Sensation: Young British Artists from the Saatchi Collection, Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK
1988Freeze, Surrey Docks, London, UK

Books/Catalogs (Selection)

Ann Gallagher: Damien Hirst, Tate Publishing, London 2012
Two Weeks One Summer – Damien Hirst, White Cube Gallery, London 2012
Damien Hirst (Tate Catalogue), Tate, London 2012
The Souls Catalogue – Damien Hirst, Paul Stolper, 2011
For Heaven’s Sake – Damien Hirst, Gagosian Gallery, London 2011
Damien Hirst: For the Love of God, Other Criteria, 2010
The Complete Medicine Cabinets – Damien Hirst, L&M Arts, New York 2010
Rex Butler: Damien Hirst (Art to Hear), Hatje Cantz, Ostfildern 2009
Nothing Matters, White Cube, London 2009
No Love Lost, Wallace Collection, London 2009
Beautiful Inside My Head Forever, Sotheby’s, New York 2008
Jason Beard: Superstition, Harry N. Abrams, 2008
Céline Bastian: Void, Schirmer/ Mosel, München 2008
Damien Hirst: For the Love of God: The Making of the Diamond Skull, Harry N. Abrams, 2007
Damien Hirst: I Want to Spent the Rest of My Life Everywhere, with Everyone, One to One, Always, Forever, Now, Booth-Clibborn, London 2006
Theories, Models, Methods, Approaches, Assumptions, Results and Findings, Gagosian Gallery, New York 2005
Damien Hirst, Gordon Burn: On the Way to Work, London 2001

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