The Virtues by Damien Hirst
The Virtues by Damien Hirst
Referencing Impressionism, Pointillism, and Action Painting, the Cherry Blossoms are about the spontaneous joy of spring. Damien Hirst said “Cherry Blossoms are about beauty and life and death. They’re extreme – there’s something hopeful yet hopeless about them. They’re art but taken from nature. They’re about desire and how we process love and why we need it, but also these prints are about the momentary, the insane transience of beauty – a tree in full crazy blossom against a clear blue sky. How can you argue with that? It’s been so good to make these prints, to be completely lost in color for a while. Blossoms are optimistic and bright yet fragile, just like we are and I hope that The Virtues can remind us to always try and get the most from life.”
About the Artist:
Damien Hirst was born in 1965 in Bristol and grew up in Leeds. In 1984 he moved to London, where he worked in construction before studying for a BA in Fine Art at Goldsmiths college from 1986 to 1989. He was awarded the Turner Prize in 1995
Since the late 1980’s, Hirst has used a varied practise of installation, sculpture, painting and drawing to explore the complex relationship between art, life and death. Explaining: “Art’s about life and it can’t really be about anything else … there isn’t anything else,” Hirst’s work investigates and challenges contemporary belief systems, and dissects the tensions and uncertainties at the heart of human experience. At Goldsmiths, Hirst’s understanding of the distinction between painting and sculpture changed significantly, and he began work on some of his most important series. The ‘Medicine Cabinets’ created in his second year combined the aesthetics of minimalism with Hirst’s observation that, “science is the new religion for many people. It’s as simple and as complicated as that really.” This is one of his most enduring themes, and was most powerfully manifested in the installation work, ‘Pharmacy’ (1992).
Whilst in his second year, Hirst conceived and curated ‘Freeze’ – a group exhibition in three phases. The exhibition of Goldsmiths students is commonly acknowledged to have been the launching point not only for Hirst, but for a generation of British artists. For its final phase he painted two series of colored spots on to the warehouse walls. Hirst describes the spot paintings as a means of “pinning down the joy of color”, and explains they provided a solution to all problems he’d previously had with color. It has become one of the artist’s most prolific and recognizable series.
In 1991 Hirst began work on ‘Natural History’, arguably his most famous series. Through preserving creatures in minimalist steel and glass tanks filled with formaldehyde solution, he intended to create a “zoo of dead animals”. In 1992, the shark piece, ‘The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living’ (1991) was unveiled at the Saatchi Gallery’s ‘Young British Artists I’ exhibition. The shark, described by the artist as a “thing to describe a feeling”, remains one of the most iconic symbols of modern British art and popular culture in the 90’s. The series typifies Hirst’s interest in display mechanisms. The glass boxes he employs both in ‘Natural History’ works and in vitrines, such as ‘The Acquired Inability to Escape’ (1991), act to define the artwork’s space, whilst simultaneously commenting on the “fragility of existence”.
Stating: “I am absolutely not interested in tying things down”, Hirst has continued over the last decade to explore the “big issues” of “death, life, religion, beauty, science.”
- Damien Hirst: Butterflies
- Damien Hirst: Utopia
- Damien Hirst: Spots
- Color Construction
- Damien Hirst: Back to Basics
- Damien Hirst: Death and Mortality
- Damien Hirst: Butterfly Effect
- Connecting the Dots: From Seurat to Hirst
- The Duality of Damien Hirst’s Art
- Damien Hirst Does Mickey Mouse
- Damien Hirst Opposites
- Skateboard Decks Shop Sale
- Spring Goes Pop