Yesterday I visited the Tate Modern art gallery in London, I was their to see British artist Damien Hirst’s exhibition. The showcase is the first major demonstration of Hirst’s work to be held in London.
Death is an occurring theme in many of Hirst’s work, and yesterday I saw many of his iconic pieces that had huge links with the after life. The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living (1991) sees Hirst play around with, in my opinion, representations of limbo or a state of oblivion. A tiger shark is preserved in formaldehyde in a huge display case, It’s extremely impressive to look at. Originally made in 1991, the shark chosen eventually decayed and was replaced by another shark in 2006. It has been claimed that Hirst has suggested that the cause of the decay is the fact that the Saatchi Gallery which housed the artwork initially had added bleach to the original.
Mother and Child, Divided (1993) also sees an animal stuck in a kind of limbo. This time a cow and it’s calf split into two, preserved in formaldehyde once again. These works aim to provoke discussions on life and death but, I saw myself wondering how he did it and how I see it.
A good example has to be Hirst’s diamond skull For the Love of God (2007), it wasn’t until after I saw it did I turn around and say “That was a real human skull, the remains of a person”. I was just fixed on the fact that I was looking at a £50m peice of art.
I noticed a fantastic juxtaposition of life and death when walking into a room containing live butterflies. It was a humid environment containing various brightly coloured butterflies. It was life at its most fullest compared to some of the earlier works I had seen that day.
Some people are sceptical about Damien Hirst’s work, some people are not keen on what he has done for the art world. But I personally enjoyed my day at Hirst’s London Exhibition. There was a variety of different kinds of pieces to get you thinking about life, death and the human body.
I think my favourite sample of the day was A Thousand Years (1990), an exploration of birth, death and decay. Maggots are kept in a huge container, they hatch to turn into flies who then feed on a cows severed head. Some of the flies meet their maker due to a insect-o-cutor that is encased in this huge display case. You can even smell the death and decay.
If you are a fan of Damien Hirst or alternative art then you should most certainly check out this exhibition. It runs at the Tate Modern London until September 9 2012.
What do you think of Damien Hirst’s work?