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Hirst's 'Psalm' paintings to go on display in Stockholm

August 18, 2014 by Amie

A selection of Damien Hirst's 2008 series of butterfly 'Kaleidoscope' paintings are to be exhibited in a solo show at McCabe Fine Art, Stockholm. In 2008 Hirst created a series of 150 works made up of butterfly wings on painted canvases, each titled after an Old Testament psalm. For the artist's first solo exhibition in Sweden, McCabe Fine Artin Stockholm will present the largest collection of 'Psalm' paintings ever to have been shown together (29th August – 22nd October). Hirst began using butterflies in his work as early as 1989. Describing the insect as a 'universal trigger', he has explained: "Everyone’s frightened of glass, everyone’s frightened of sharks, everyone loves butterflies." The 'Psalms' form part of the ‘Kaleidoscope’ series, conceived by the artist in 2001 after he found a Victorian tea tray decorated with intricate patterns of butterfly wings. The works reference the spiritual symbolism of the butterfly, used by the Greeks to depict Psyche, the soul, and in Christian imagery to signify the resurrection. The perfect symmetry which characterises the 'Psalms' alludes to both the displays of light, colour and beauty as presented in Gothic stained glass windows, and the circular patterns of Buddhist mandalas. The paintings, which are rendered on uniformly-sized circular, square or diamond-shaped canvases, might variously be interpreted as explorations into the nature of beauty, religion, death and the fragility of life.

For more information please visit McCabe Fine Art.

'Psalm 132: Memento, Domine.' (2008)
Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2014

Damien Hirst unveils gilded mammoth skeleton to be auctioned in aid of amfAR

May 20, 2014 by Amie

Damien Hirst has donated ‘Gone but not Forgotten’ (2014) for amfAR's annual Cinema Against AIDS gala, to be held on Thursday 22nd May. In this major new work, Hirst presents the gilded skeleton of a three-metre tall woolly mammoth, in a colossal steel and glass vitrine.


The sculpture forms part of Hirst’s ‘Natural History’ series, which he began in the early 1990s, with work including the shark in formaldehyde, 'The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living' (1991), and the bisected cow and calf, 'Mother and Child (Divided)' (1993).

The unique piece was donated by the artist, to aid amfAR's work in the fight against AIDS. Founded in 1985, amfAR is dedicated to ending the global AIDS epidemic through innovate research. It has invested more than $388 million in its programs and has awarded more than 3,300 grants to research teams worldwide.

Held at the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc, Cinema Against Aids is one of the highlights of the Cannes Film Festival, attracting support from global stars such as Sharon Stone, Heidi Klum and Aishwarya Rai. Artwork by Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg and Julien Schnabel have been auctioned at previous galas.


Simon de Pury, who will conduct the auction of 'Gone but not Forgotten', stated: "Damien Hirst's contribution of a work of this magnitude to amfAR is noteworthy in both the art and philanthropic worlds. Hirst is an unparalleled figure in contemporary art, and this piece embodies themes that resonate with amfAR's history and the new sense of possibility in the search for a cure for HIV/AIDS."

Hirst explained of the piece: "The mammoth comes from a time and place that we cannot ever fully understand. Despite its scientific reality, it has attained an almost mythical status and I wanted to play with these ideas of legend, history and science by gilding the skeleton and placing it within a monolithic gold tank. It's such an absolute expression of mortality, but I've decorated it to the point where it's become something else, I've pitched everything I can against death to create something more hopeful, it is Gone but not Forgotten."

For more information, visit www.amfar.org


'Gone but not Forgotten' (2014) All images are photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2014

View a short film on the fabrication of 'Gone but not Forgotten' (2014) on Damien Hirst's website.

Damien Hirst unveils Mickey Mouse painting to be auctioned in aid of Kids Company

January 8, 2014 by Amie

Damien Hirst, ‘Mickey’ (2012) Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates
© Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2014

At the invitation of Disney, Hirst has remade Mickey Mouse as one of his iconic series of spot paintings. Hirst follows in the footsteps of artists including Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Claes Oldenburg in interpreting Disney's best-loved character. He comments, “Mickey Mouse represents happiness and the joy of being a kid and I have reduced his shape down to the basic elements of a few simple spots. I hope people love it, because it is still instantly recognisable - Mickey is such a universal and powerful icon.“

‘Mickey’ will be auctioned in aid of Kids Company as part of Christie's Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction on Thursday 13 February. Based in London and established in 1996, the charity provides practical, emotional and educational support to vulnerable inner-city children and young people. Hirst has supported Kids Company for over six years and is a longtime advocate of their use of art therapy. In 2012, the artist and Kids Company founder Camila Batmanghelidjh hosted a day-event in London's Covent Garden Piazza which involved over 150 schoolchildren making spin paintings with the artist.

On the occasion of the unveiling of ‘Mickey’, Batmanghelidjh stated: “Maltreated children often feel very alone. Having been victimised, they lose their sense of power and potency. In cartoon characters like Mickey Mouse they find a friend, sometimes a protector and the hope that one day they’ll leave the harm they have endured. Damien Hirst to the children of Kids Company has been a genuine hero. He has mobilised resources to help transform lives by offering children a brighter future.”

Francis Outred, Head of Post-War and Contemporary Art, Christie’s Europe adds: “As an icon of cartoon and consumer culture and one of the classic designs of the twentieth century, Mickey Mouse has provided inspiration to generations of great artists [...] Damien’s is an exciting and hugely significant addition to this rich artistic vein of Mickey depictions. Taking his own universally recognised painterly language – the spots – and applying it in a striking yet simple composition to Mickey, the resulting image speaks of the profound way that both icons have entered our collective consciousness. We are honoured to play a part in raising funds for such a worthy cause as Kids Company.”

‘Mickey’ will be on view to the public as part of Christie's auction’s pre-sale exhibition from Saturday 8 February. Thanks to damienhirst.com for this article.

Damien Hirst 'The Miraculous Journey' unveiled in Doha

October 8, 2013 by Amie

'The Miraculous Journey' (2005 – 2013) consists of fourteen large-scale bronze sculptures that chart the gestation of a foetus from conception to birth. The colossal figures have been revealed outside the new Sidra Medical and Research Centre in Doha.

Damien Hirst, 'The Miraculous Journey', 2005-2013 Photographed by Oli Hale © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2013

The ambitious project has been commissioned under the patronage of H. E. Sheikha Al Mayassa Bint Hamad Al Thani, Qatar Museums Authority and Qatar Foundation. Conceived by the artist in 2005 and taking over three years to fabricate, the work’s completion has been timed to coincide with the opening of Hirst’s first solo show in the Middle East: ‘Relics’ at ALRIWAQ exhibition space.

'The Miraculous Journey' begins with the fertilization of an egg and ends with a fully formed baby. The colossal bronze figures range from 5 to 11 metres in height and the whole structure weighs 216 metric tonnes. They were individually cast in over 500 panels at Pangolin Foundry in the UK before being transported to Qatar. The scale of the sculptures required the foundry to weld a staggering total of 19 kilometres to stitch together the panels and Pangolin describe it as their largest project to date.

Hirst explains that the work came from, “a desire to create something monumental, whilst essentially human.” The work addresses some of the artist’s most enduring concerns and is simultaneously a celebration of life, and an exploration of the difficulties inherent in trying to express the profundities of our existences. Hirst states: “Ultimately, the journey a baby goes through before birth is bigger than anything it will experience in its human life. I hope the sculpture will instill in the viewer a sense of awe and wonder at this extraordinary human process, which will soon be occurring in the Sidra Medical Center, as well as every second all across the globe.”

'The Miraculous Journey' is part of a visionary series of cultural initiatives patronised by H. E. Sheikha Al Mayassa Bint Hamad Al Thani, that aim to redress the traditional boundaries between eastern and western art in the Middle East. The introduction of Hirst’s bold and sometimes controversial work signals an important step in the growth of a cross-cultural dialogue between the UK and Qatar. Hirst’s contribution to the Doha landscape will invaluably enhance the city’s burgeoning international reputation as a cultural destination.

Thanks to damienhirst.com for this article.

Damien Hirst – 'Jonathan Yeo Portraits'

August 27, 2013 by Amie

Damien Hirst Jonathan Yeo 2013 Oil on canvas 153cm x 153cm Photographed by Richard Valencia Image © Jonathan Yeo 2013

September 11th until January 5th 2014

As part of a comprehensive survey of the work of British artist Jonathan Yeo, an extraordinary six-foot-high portrait of Damien Hirst is to go on display for the first time this September. The work will be shown as part of the National Portrait Gallery's selection of Yeo’s portraits spanning over a decade of sitters from the world of politics, media and the arts. Painted entirely from life, Yeo portrays Hirst in a chemical dry suit typically used for working with formaldehyde. Framed in a vitrine-style structure, the portrait references some of Hirst’s most iconic works. Yeo comments: "People assume [Damien and I] have completely contrary positions – of tradition and modernity, painting and the physical – however, artists are always interested in other artists, and how and what they achieve in their work. Damien, and his undeniable ongoing impact on the art world, is endlessly fascinating. The pose was intended to reflect ironically his supposed status as dark overlord of the Contemporary Art scene and hopefully some observers will be reminded of Velasquez’s and Bacon's Popes. Ultimately his faint smirk is the giveaway, both that he was a knowing collaborator in the choice of composition, and that his mischievous sense of humour is never far from anything he does." Of the importance of Yeo's work, Hirst states: “Like Turner strapping himself to the ship’s mast in order to create a true likeness of a storm, Yeo time and time again achieves what should be impossible: creating a true picture, an image or a glimpse, of people we think we know and of those we’ve never met." Other never-before-seen works included in the exhibition include Yeo’s depiction of actor Kevin Spacey in character as Shakespeare’s Richard III.

Article courtesy of www.damienhirst.com