From pure colour to the journey called life – Damien Hirst

“I wanted to ba a painter, but it didn’t really come naturally to me. It was like a void. The infinite possibilities of what I could paint used to do my head in. I want a figure here or I want a car here I want some trees in, and then the infinite possibilities of which car, which trees, which person, how big they should be – I just used to get lost so I spent a lot of time in front of a blank canvas, not doing anything.” (Damien Hirst)

He talks about life, he talks about death and about what happen between life and death. He tells it to us (and I think more to himself) through his incredible and sometimes, for someone, outrageous way to do art.

This is Damien Hirst, and this his brand new performance, right here, in London. So if you have the chance to go to the Tate Modern in these days do not miss his exhibition. If you are not particularly interested in art but you are an obsessive-compulsive and a maniac of collecting things in series, or you are passionate of weird things, go there just to have a look of Lullaby, the Seasons or to find yourself in front of real cow’s bleeding head full of flies, where the only thing that divides you and that show is a glass box, in A Thousand Years. But I suggest you to go beyond the simple “go to see something strange” thing and think about what you are looking at, because with Damien Hirst’s art all the time you will spend around his art works will worth. You will find out that Lullaby, the Seasons and all the other “collections” of things in series are all about the passing of time, the transient nature of life, the human nature, the changes of the human body and how we “operate” on our body during our entire life. And you will discover that A Thousand Years is not only a weird show of blood and dead flies, but that it is in fact the description of life cyrcle: birth, life, survival and death.

“I think inherently in every artwork or anything you do there’s a reason, there’s something that makes sense. It all comes out of the idea of what the idea is, What does it mean? You know, how do you say, ‘I love you’ with objects istead of words, or actions? I think that’s what art is.” (Damien Hirst)

Have you ever found yourself in front of  a real shark that is trying to bite you? Well, in there you will (The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living)…the shark, poor thing, is dead but still absolutely real, as the “primal fear” you will feel (and, believe me, you will feel it!) once in front of his big mouth opened. And the intent of Hirst is actually this one: get scared facing something so real but dead, even if we know that it is dead, because of “the physical impossibility of death in the mind of someone living”, in fact.

Simply amazing the complex patterns reminiscent of medieval stained glass church windows, made with butterflies wings (ok, maybe if you are fighting for the animal rights, it is better if you avoid this exhibition), symbol of beauty and also fragility of life. Fascinating all that creepy animals in formaldehyde.

I find myself in his obsession in collecting an endless serie of objects, as shells, glasses, surgical instruments, cigarettes (!!), medicines, colourful pills that look like sweets or the toy pearls that I used to play with to make extravagant neckelces when I was I child. He put them all in separated cabinets and displayed them as museological speciments. Ok…maybe I am not so meticulous in collecting things, and I would never collect cigarettes, but the point is that to me this way to act is extremely fascinating, and the meaning of this work is incredibly guessed.

He also developed a really personal vision of death. He sees the death in a “mexican way”, in line with the Mexican culture of celebrating death as something almost joyful and positive, and not something to be frightened of, because art allows it to you: “that’s the difference between art and life, art is always optimistic even if it’s about very dark things, and what’s not optimistic is not art.” And we can say that, in a certain way it ends up with Hirst’s most discussed (and expensive, even if “it’s not about money”, as he said) work, For the Love of God, the diamond skull: decorating death is a way to go beyond the mere concept of death as a sad and bad thing to show it as something positive and powerful.

GoosebumpsMag’s team enjoyed the exibition, and this is our personal way say “well done, again!” to Damien Hirst.

“Minimalism is like science, you know, you’ve got order and disorder so disorder was the kind of abstract expressionism stuff and minimalism was like the order. It’s just this sort of perfect thing, you know.”

A Thousand of Years, 1990


“That’s the difference between art and life, art is always optimistic even if it’s about very dark things, and what’s not optimistic is not art.”

Doorway to the Kingdom of Heaven, 2007

“At the time I was getting into the idea of the endless theories, this strand of conceptual art. I just love the idea of artists who set out to just do endless variations of one thing […]. With the dot paintings I just thought it was about repetition, it’s about endlessness and it’s about immortality.”

Spot Paintings

“My problems was in the painting was that I love colour, I get totally seduced. I could play with colour all day long.”       

Loving in a World of Desire,

Lullaby, the Seasons, 2002 (detail)

“I feel happy that the diamond skull exists in the world. Totally, whenever I see it, it just fills me, even as somebody that’s made it, with awe and wonder. There’s some crazy shit in the world, and that’s one of those things.”

For the Love of God, 2007

Damien Hirst’s exhibition at the Tate Modern, London, from 4 April to 9 September 2012.

More interested? Watch this!

…and this!

By Anna D.

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