Damien Steven Hirst, born June 7, 1965 in Bristol, England, is one of several things: a British assemblagist, (turns detritus into art), a painter, and a conceptual artist, whose laser-like gaze slices through life, death, rebirth, mortality, medicine, technology, and junk. They call Hirst the enfant terrible of the 1990s art world. But this site regards him as one of the most innovative artists in the world. Among other things, Damien Hirst presented dead animals in a new light with his formaldehyde art.

Remember the shark in the case? Like Marcel Duchamp, Hirst used ready-made objects to shocking effect, and in the process he gave the art world a shove in its complacent derriere. In 1995 he won Tate Britain’s Turner Prize, Great Britain’s BIG art award for contemporary art.

Hirst grew up in Leeds and moved to London in the early 1980s and began his artistic life as a painter, and mucked about with detritus. In 1986 he attended Goldsmiths College in New Cross Gate, London, and during that time he curated an influential student show, “Freeze". And as it happened it was attended by the British advertising mogul and art collector Charles Saatchi. Just the sort of rare good luck that Damien Hirst was hoping for. The exhibition showcased the work of a group of Hirst’s fellow students who became known as the successful Young British Artists (YBAs) of the 1990s. Hirst’s reputation quickly went off the harts.

His displays of animals in formaldehyde and his installations complete with live maggots and butterflies shocked and appalled. Most of his works had long intellectualised titles reminiscent of Salvador Dali's works. But they all hinted at a morbid obsession with death - the so-called Thanatos drive. Hirst’s later work were of paintings made by spin machines, large anatomical models of the human torso, vitrines filled with pill boxes, enlarged ashtrays full of cigarette butts, curiosity cabinets filled with found objects, and a diamond-studded platinum-cast human skull entitled For the Love of God. This is probably the most expensive artwork ever made. It was on offer for £50 million.

Damien Hirst's references to other artistic movements and artists were legion. His use of detritus and assistants in making works linked him to other artists of the time, and served to demystify the role of the artist’s own personal hand. Hirst made headlines in 2008 when he put up a selection of his work at auction and reaped more than $200 million dollars. In other words he sidestepped the gallery system, regarded as very naughty! During the 2017 Venice Biennale, he also held his own solo exhibition, “Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable,” in a couple of venues. The ginormous installation featured sculptures and other objects supposedly as the remains from a fictional 2,000-year-old shipwreck off the coast of Africa. Hirst’s art was displayed in numerous solo and group exhibitions, including major retrospectives at the Museo Archeologico Nazionale in Naples (2004) and the Tate Modern (2012) in London.

He also writes books, designs restaurants, collaborated in pop projects, and experimented with film. Without doubt he is truly a force majeure!

To see the great man's work : http://www.damienhirst.com/

Art-Eklecto artist rating : infinity+++