The Damien Hirst exhibition is one of the must see curations of the year and it lives up to its hype in every aspect of its massive range and scope. Whether you just look at the aesthetics of Damien Hirst’s work or try to unravel the story behind it all, the exhibition at the Tate Modern will invoke a sensation reaction that’s hard to compare.
From the awe and question of The Incomplete Truth – a single dove suspended in a large formaldehyde filled tank – to the disgust, pity and brutal reality of A Thousand Years – a rotting cow’s head in a glass case with flies eating it and singeing into nothing in the totalitarian insect-o-cutor – the exhibition draws together a life dedicated to art and the unending bounds of its possibility.
The installation stands at the heart of some of art’s most compelling of themes. Death stands next to new life, evil is encased in beauty, crafted aesthetic considerations hang just around the corner from wayward artistic abandon, religion is courted beside the full force logic of science and evolution… Despite what anyone might say (even Hirst himself at times) the work is a culmination of a credible love of art and intrigue in life and society over the years.
For anyone that may question Hirst’s validity as one of modern art’s great creators, the Tate Modern has also put together two videos that are on show outside the exhibition. They form a useful insight into the Hirst back catalogue and portray the artist with what appears to be his true self motivations.
One of the cleverest aspects of the Damien Hirst exhibition at the Tate Modern is the display of his most expensive creation for free in a separate installation in the main hallway. For the Love of God, Hirst’s diamond encrusted human skull, sits in a spotlit black box and it’s well worth the queue to see it; not just the skull itself, but also the reflection in the glass that surrounds it of the awe filled faces of its visitors.
The Damien Hirst exhibition at the Tate Modern review: 5/5