April 4, 2012 § 2 Comments
Unless you live on another planet (or indeed outside of London), you will be aware of the Damien Hirst exhibition at Tate Modern opening today. Either your eyes will roll to this or you’ll be as excited as me. It would seem predictable that I like his art, so let me explain my relationship with his work;
The year Damien won the Turner prize in 1995 was the year of my art foundation. We were sent down to Tate to write a project on it (his piece was ‘Mother and Child divided’ – the cow and calf in formaldehyde) and I was thrilled he won as I thought it pushed the boundaries of what we expect to see in an art gallery. I already had my Uni place to study Anatomy, so I gave up my art foundation in favour of dissecting cadavers. A gift to commemorate this act from a friend was a little plastic anatomical man, so you can imagine when I saw ‘Hymn’ (below) in 2000 at Saatchi Gallery, I just couldn’t believe it – he still sits on my studio shelf. (I also love scuba diving with sharks, and I travelled to Brooklyn NY to see Hirsts Shark in the Sensation exhibition of 1999… but that’s another story)
In 2008 I had started taking stone carving classes alongside my medical illustration and anatomy/dissection teaching, naturally carving hearts, brains and lungs etc. So when I saw ‘Anatomy of an Angel’ (below) I was blown away. To carve a life sized marble angel is immense in itself (yes, he didn’t do it, it was carved in Italy out of Carrera marble), but that wasn’t the point, he would not humanly be able to make all his ideas real by the limitations of his own hand. Here was a man who had the ideas, and actually had the money to make it happen. Just like ‘For the love of God’ (top image) which cost him £14million in diamonds to make, and was beautiful and breathtaking when I saw it at White Cube. I’d like to think if I was loaded, I’d make art with it.
So whatever you think of Hirst, if it’s ‘art’, if he should ‘make it all himself or not bother’, if you’ve not seen ‘Hymn’,’ Anatomy of an Angel’, or ‘For the Love of God’, maybe swing by the exhibition… you just might love it!
[All images taken from Damien Hirst Site]
See interviews with Hirst on Channel 4OD