Nearly thirty years have gone by since the day artist Damien Hirst created his first model of the series Spot Paintings—a continual interpretation of colorful dots on a white background, often said to be inspired by the chemical composition of drugs.
Today, Hirst, who is a leading member of the Young British Artists, has become not only one of the most famous artists in the industry but also one of the most controversial. This October, his life’s work comes together in a comprehensive retrospective, entitled Relics, at the Al Riwa Doha, the exhibition space of the Qatar Museums Authority. The event marks his first show in the Middle East as well as the largest survey of the most significant works he has produced over the past 25 years.
This exhibition follows on the heels of last year’s show at the Tate Modern in London, which attracted more than 450,000 visitors in just over five months, proving even further how his works—specifically one entitled The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, which was created in 1991 by Hirst and consists of a tiger shark preserved in formaldehyde—have had a strong influence in the world of art and, above all, in pop culture.
Some would call Hirst subversive; he never fears playing with the rules and is always stimulated by taking risks. He once embellished a skull completely in diamonds, mounted millions of beautiful butterflies on display, and severed a cow’s head—all in the name of art. One of his most talked-about controversies was to sell a group of his works directly to the public through the auction house Sotheby’s, skipping intermediaries like galleries and art dealers. “The important thing is art remains more powerful than money,” he said when the auction was over—and sold out. He never ceases to astound his audiences, and the new exhibition in Qatar is promised to do just the same (from October 10 to January 22 2014).
Above: Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2013
Damien Hirst, The Immortal 1997 – 2005
Right image: Photographed by Billie Scheepers © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2013