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Freedom Not Genius: Works from Damien Hirst’s Murderme collection

October 30, 2012 by Kay

10 November 2012 – 10 March 2013

“Collecting is like stuff washed up on a beach somewhere and that somewhere is you. Then when you die, it all gets washed away again,” Damien Hirst.

The Pinacoteca Giovanni e Marella Agnelli will be presenting selected works from Damien Hirst’s Murderme collection. Continuing to explore the theme of collecting, Freedom not Genius, curated by Elena Geuna, is a rare insight into the interests and tastes of one of the world’s best-known living artists.

Jeff Koons - Three Ball 50/50 Tank (Spalding Dr. JK Silver Series), 1985, Glass, steel, distilled water, three basketballs, 153.7 x 123.8 x 33.7 cm, © Jeff Koons

“A central part of the Pinacoteca Agnelli’s programme is to study the essence of a collection and how it manifests itself in the world. This exhibition raises the question of the significance of an object within the context of an artist’s own work. The breadth of Hirst’s Murderme collection is fundamentally a reflection of how the artwork around him influences his work and how his work influences the things that he surrounds himself with,” says Ginevra Elkann, President of the Pinacoteca Agnelli.

In the late 1980s Hirst began exchanging his own works with those of his artist friends who were also part of the now infamous Young British Artists group, acquiring pieces that would lay the foundation for one of the most interesting contemporary art collections in the world.

Rachel Howard - Black Dog (No Head), 2007, Household gloss on canvas, 40 x 40 cm, © the artist, courtesy BLAIN|SOUTHERN, Prudence Cuming Associates

This is only the second time that the Murderme collection has been publicly exhibited. As Damien Hirst says, “It's been six years since my first show of Murderme works and I'm really excited about having another. Collecting has been important to me since the very beginning, I've always said it's like making a map of someone's life and this exhibition shows how I've evolved both as a collector and an artist. It's great to be able to exhibit so many of my favourite artists together, and I think Freedom not Genius reveals a lot about me in a way you wouldn't normally see. Gathering these works in one space, when they're from such different times and places, is amazing and definitely says something about what's remained important for mankind, artists and for me.”

Angus Fairhurst - Reduced In A Circular Formation, 2005, Plastic skull with punched holes, 15 x 13.5 x 21.5 cm, © The Estate of Angus Fairhurst, courtesy Sadie Coles HQ, London, Prudence Cuming Associates

The show in Turin will feature over 50 artists. Among them from Hirst’s collection are Frank Auerbach, Francis Bacon, Alberto Giacometti, Mario Merz, Bruce Nauman, Richard Prince, and Andy Warhol in dialogue with carefully chosen works by artists of the next generation, including: Banksy, John Currin, Tracey Emin, Angus Fairhurst, Sarah Lucas, and Rachel Whiteread.

Hirst’s continued fascination with death is evident throughout and, using Picasso’s Nature morte au crane et au pot as a starting point, part of the exhibition will present a contemporary wunderkammer - a series of memento mori reflecting a theme that recurs throughout the Murderme collection. This will showcase 17th-century vanitas paintings, vintage photographs and reproductions of skulls made from a variety of materials and spanning over four centuries.

Michael Joo - Stripped (Instinctual), 2005, Urethane foam, epoxy resin, enamel paint, hand-built plastic, glass, wood, 182.9 x 182.9 x 101.6 cm © the artist, courtesy BLAIN|SOUTHERN, Tom Powel Imaging


A bilingual, fully illustrated catalogue is co-produced by the Pinacoteca Giovanni e Marella Agnelli and Other Criteria. Edited by Karen Marta, it includes an interview with Damien Hirst by Elena Geuna, independent curator of international art exhibitions, amongst others co-curator of Jeff Koons Versailles, 2008, and an essay by Mario Codognato, Head Curator & Director of Exhibitions at Blain Southern, London; and a close friend of Hirst for over 20 years.

List of artists Frank Auerbach, Francis Bacon, David Bailey, Banksy, John Bellany Nick Bibby Ashley Bickerton, Peter Blake, Don Brown, Mat Collishaw, John Currin, Tracey Emin,  Patrick McNeil Faile, Patrick Miller Faile, Angus Fairhurst, Abigail Fallis, Paul Fryer, Alberto Giacometti, Steven Gregory, Richard Hamilton Marcus Harvey, John Hoyland,Rachel Howard, Gary Hume, Paul Insect, John Isaacs, Michael Joo Jonathan Kingdon Jeff Koons, Jim Lambie, Sean Landers, Hyungkoo Lee, Sherrie Levine, Colin Lowe, Sarah Lucas, Mario Merz, Rodrigo Moynihan, Vik Muniz, Takashi Murakami

Pinacoteca Giovanni e Marella Agnelli Via Nizza 230, 10126 Torino, Italy | |