Using images of the cigarette stubs incarcerated in Hirst’s 2008 work, The Abyss, in which the artist fixed hundreds, if not thousands, of smoked butts and ash into a medical display cabinet, a grid pattern of them is superimposed over vividly coloured flowers. The cigarettes seem to sprout and grow from beneath and over the top of the flowers. Hirst plays with the contrast between the inhospitable cigarettes and vitality of the blooms on which they rest: deliberately incongruous, the pairing speaks of the perils of addiction and the possible fragility - and regeneration - of life after smoking.
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