Damien Hirst

Damien Hirst

Artist, collector, provocateur and entrepreneur, Hirst was a leading figure in the Young British Artists in the late nineties and early noughties, and his standing in the contemporary art world is assured as much by his virtuosity as a businessman as on the canvas. Read more

Born in 1965, English artist Hirst is reportedly now Britain’s richest living artist, estimated by the Sunday Times Rich List in 2010 to be worth £215 million. His game-changing approach to the making of art has thrown up numerous memorable pieces.

Dead animals are frequently used in Hirst's installations, and containers such as aquariums and vitrines are often used to impose control on the fragile subject matter and to emphasize the superficiality of the barriers between the viewer and the viewed. The animals are preserved as in life, but at the same time are emphatically dead, with their entrails and flesh exposed.

Hirst's paintings can be seen as a foil to his sculptural work. The ‘spot' paintings, for instance, are named after pharmaceutical stimulants and narcotics, chemical enhancers of human emotion, and yet take the form of mechanical and unemotional Minimalist paintings. And in the Butterfly Paintings, a tableaux of butterflies suspended in paint, or in Amazing Revelations(2003), for instance, he arranged thousands of butterfly wings in a mandala-like patterns, to effortlessly beautiful effect. Despite his use at times of the small army of assistants (Hirst once famously said ‘the best spot painting you can have ‘by me’ is one painted by [my assistant] Rachel Howard’), he has consistently, and to spectacular effect, returned to the ‘most direct form of production, with all the attendant artistic consequences: facing the canvas, the individual painterly act, the creative process, the artist’s emotional balance – alone; being at the mercy of issues raised by the picture, at the mercy of the creator, of oneself…’


Despite the undeniable beauty and immediacy of so much of his work, Hirst’s success has also secured him many enemies, and he is rarely out of the news; he has been accused of plagiarism, and in 2008 leading art critic Robert Hughes criticized him for ‘functioning like a commercial brand’, making the case that his work proved that financial value was now the only meaning that remained for art.

Hirst received the DAAD fellowship in Berlin in 1994 and the Turner Prize in 1995.

 

 

June/July/August

Sotheby's have annocunced a new piece by Hirst will go under the hammer in Qatar this October, which is estimated at $1 - $.5 million. 
The symmetry, intricacy and sheer beauty of the piece is reminisent of Islamic art which explains Sothebys desicion to show the piece at their Doha aunction house.