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This book is a creative guide to the making of arguably the most extraordinary art object to be made in the 21st century. Published to accompany the 2007 exhibition ‘Damien Hirst: Beyond Belief’ at White Cube, it gives a fascinating pictorial insight into how Hirst’s diamond skull piece, ‘For the Love of God’ was conceived and produced.
Illustrated with candid behind-the-scenes photographs by Johnnie Shand Kydd, the book includes a number of preparatory drawings by Damien Hirst and a fold out image of the diamond skull. Accompanying this is an essay by the art historian Rudi Fuchs, who writes “The skull is out of this world, celestial almost. I tend to see it as a glorious intense victory over death”. A number of leading experts in the fields of archaeology and dentistry have also contributed detailed studies on the diamond skull, including analyses of its age and ancestry.
Texts: Victory Over Decay: Rudi Fuchs / Report on the measurement and bioarchaelogical analysis of the skull: Tania Kausmally, Hedley Swain and Bill White of the Centre for Human Bioarchaeology, Museum of London / A study of the reflection and refraction of light in diamond: Marcel Tolkowsky / Report on estimated age of the skull's teeth: Dr Helen Liversidge of Barts and The London Queen Mary's School of Medicine and Dentistry / Explanation of the results of radiocarbon dating: Thomas Higham of the Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art, University of Oxford / The mineral and carbon structure of a diamond: Steven Dutch / Report on a general analysis of the skull: Dr Theya Molleson / Report on the use of CRANID to evaluate the likely ancestry of the skull: Professor Richard Wright of the Centre for Human Bioarchaeology, University of London
Damien Hirst was born in Bristol in 1965. He first came to public attention in 1988 when he conceived and curated ‘Freeze’, an exhibition of his own work and that of his contemporaries at Goldsmiths college, staged in a disused London warehouse. Since this time Hirst has become widely recognised as one of the most influential artists of his generation.
Through a varied practise of installation, sculpture, painting and drawing Hirst has sought to explore the complex relationship between art, life and death. Alongside over 80 solo exhibitions he has worked on numerous curatorial projects. In 2008, Hirst took the unprecedented step of bypassing gallery involvement in selling 244 new works at a Sotheby’s, London auction entitled ‘Beautiful Inside My Head Forever’.
Hirst was awarded the Turner Prize in 1995 and his contribution to British art over the last two and a half decades has been acknowledged in a major solo retrospective exhibited at Tate Modern, London. He lives in Devon and has studios in Gloucester and London.
Text © Damien Hirst & Science Ltd., All rights reserved, 2012