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“Not so much poems, more titles gone mad.” Damien Hirst
The Cancer Chronicles is a collection of thirteen poems by the artist Damien Hirst, created to accompany his exhibition Romance in the Age of Uncertainty – Jesus and his Disciples (Death, Martyrdom, Suicide & Ascension). Each poem shares a title with the works from the exhibition: thirteen steel and glass cabinets each alluding to the life and unhappy death of the thirteen Apostles.
In his first published book of poetry Hirst explores in written form some of the motifs that have endured in his work: death, decay, disease and belief. The poems provide further insight into Hirst’s sculptural works as expressed through the artist’s own violent prose. Hirst wrestles with the many conflicting aspects of death, dying and loss that we face through our advanced scientific knowledge today and, using our collective fear of cancer, he tries uncompromisingly to face the horror and weave a way through the darkness.
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