This work is an edition of 50 unique multiples. In this series of 50 painted skulls are three categories manifested as three variations of form: Hallucinatory Head, Hypnotic Head and Transcendent Head, with each skull a unique result of the now famous and highly sought after ‘Spin’ painting technique.
The skull is one of a number of recurring motifs not only in Damien Hirst’s work but also in the history of art, and in this special edition has been reworked back in to his signature. The technique is simple but the result relies on complex ideas about mortality and the history of mankind, touching on specific anthropological and historical readings, with compelling, celebratory and seductive results.
A suggested memento mori of a more uplifting and contemporary slant, Hirst’s proximity to the subject of death is ever fresh, rewarding and daring, seeking to challenge the often morbid art historical approach to the subject. His skulls engage, they fix us with their own kind of gaze, imploring us to see the comedy within them. Here, the image of death is less unknowable, more approachable, a little lighthearted, even, whilst possessing something of an ancient relic or offering to the gods. Influences of the Mexican celebration, Dia de los Muertos, fuse ritual and anthropology with ornament, demonstrating the crux of Hirst’s practice wherein the philosophical and eternal become part of the vocabulary of modern life and modern aesthetic.
The images here are a selection from the edition.
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