Following Damien Hirst’s Biennale Grand Prize, which he was awarded in 2001 for The Last Supper prints, Ljubljana International Biennale of Graphic Arts invited the artist to produce an entirely new show for their 25th Biennale in 2003.
In response, Hirst exhibited his first ever exhibition of drawings which, spanning his career, consisted of approximately 100 pieces. Many were sourced from private and public collections and displayed the studious, preliminary and imaginative workings of the artist. A number of drawings dated form his early teenagehood, others were lent by close friends, who had been given personal drawings by the artist. Included in the exhibition were a number of preparatory sketches for later and larger works including paintings and sculptures.
This publication reproduces over 300 drawings and is a fascinating and diverse insight into the artist’s working mind and methods, it manages to convey his humour and integrity in the making process. In the words of Hugh Allan, ‘these drawings should be seen as the spirits or shadows of more robust ‘living’ things… Urgent to render and explanation, Hirst has the energy of a dying man desperate to tell us a truth; as the title of the show suggests, cradle and grave bracket what lies between.’
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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