London’s Tate Modern is currently exhibiting the first and most substantial survey of Damien Hirst’s work ever held in the UK. Regarded as one of the most important artists working today, Hirst has created some of the most iconic works in recent history, and has exhibited in numerous countries. The exhibition provides a journey through two decades of the inventive practice that garnered several prestigious awards.
Damien Hirst first came to public attention in London in 1988 when he conceived and curated ‘Freeze’, an exhibition of his own work and that of his friends and fellow Goldsmiths College students, staged in a disused London warehouse. Many of the works he created at that time are on display at Tate Modern for the first time since then.
Bringing together over 70 of the artist’s works, the exhibition includes sculptures from the early 1990s, such as ‘The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living’, in which a shark is suspended in formaldehyde, and ‘Mother and Child Divided’, a four-part sculpture of a bisected cow and calf. Also on show are his famous vitrines, such as ‘A Thousand Years’ (1990), in which the cycle of life is represented by a cow’s head, flies and insect-o-cutor. Alongside these sculptures are cabinets displaying rows of pills, medical packaging and surgical implements, as well as paintings made throughout Hirst’s career from his spot, spin, butterfly and fly series. In addition, two major installations are on display: ‘In and Out of Love’ (1991), which includes a room full of live butterflies and has not been shown in its entirety since its creation, and ‘Pharmacy’ (1992).