Damien Hirst - Pictures, Art, Photography

Damien Hirst

Background Information about Damien Hirst


Damien Hirst is a global phenomenon. With groundbreaking approaches and innovative techniques, the visionary conceptual artist and painter has made a name for himself worldwide. Today, his work marks a milestone in contemporary art.

Where the Land Meets the Sea

Damien Hirst is globally known for creating massive waves. In his new series ‘Where the Land Meets the Sea’, they literally break in the harsh wind along the British shore: The series is a collection of abstract action paintings, each uniquely capturing the untamed nature of the Atlantic Ocean and the essence of coastal life, a sentiment the artist has carried within him since his childhood beach walks. The process of creation, as masterful as the works themselves, charges the pieces with a vibrant energy that is unleashed with every viewing. It all began with canvases that lay on the floor of Hirst's studio while he was creating his internationally acclaimed ‘Cherry Blossom’ series. The incomparable dedication for which the exceptional artist is famous for has literally stained: The splashes of paint that spilled onto the surrounding canvases during the passionate process became the basis for his latest masterpiece. The gray background of the canvas, which reminded the British artist of the sky over the turbulent sea, is either contrasted by radiant colors or intensified by striking black and white tones. Inspired by Robert Motherwell’s expressionist ‘Beside the Sea’ paintings, Hirst engages in action painting between photorealism and abstraction, resulting in breathtakingly dynamic works containing traces of the artist's biography, pure passion and the power of the Atlantic.

The Beautiful paintings

Damien Hirst's Beautiful Paintings are the modern sequel of his acclaimed Spin Paintings: the production of the Beautiful Paintings is as dynamic as the energetic creation of the Spin Paintings, in which splashes of paint meet round, rotating canvases. Using special programs tailored to his Spin Paintings series, the artist's creative vision of inventing something completely unique reaches a new peak: the element of randomness, which is essential to the moving creations of the Spin Paintings, also determines the creation of the Beautiful Paintings and results in incomparable masterpieces.
Damien Hirst's typically conceptual approach has enabled art collectors to create spin-offs of his Spin Paintings. The Beautiful Paintings are based on unique combinations of colors and shapes using a palette of more than 250 hues and over 20 styles from the original series. In the tradition of the Spin Paintings, these works are also mounted on round stretcher frames. On the one hand, this ensures that the artworks hardly deviate from the original series whose works are worth several hundred thousand euros. On the other hand, they continue to realize Hirst's intention of creating completely unique pieces.
His innovative approach of blending creativity and randomness culminates in explosive colors:
Not only do his pieces thus have a magical appeal, but they also work like magic by turning collectors into artists and provoking broad fascination: In viewers around the globe and in the artist himself.  

The Empresses

A recurring theme in Damien Hirst’s works, the butterfly, epitomises beauty and transience. In his most recent five-part series, the old master of the Young British Artists explores a topos that, above all, challenges our knowledge of Western history. The silk-screen works, printed with a fine lustre, are all named after female rulers whose respective provenances were Persian-Indian, Byzantine, Chinese, Japanese and Ethiopian history. Hirst pays tribute to these outstanding, though largely unknown queens: Nur Jahan, Theodora, Wu Zetian, Suiko, Taytu Betul not only by a dazzling work of art, but also with a distinctive pattern, which reveals itself to be a finely crafted mosaic composed of count-less butterfly wings. The form and appearance of the mosaic refer, in turn, to historical and biographical aspects of these regents. To appreciate the images in their full depth and significance, this encourages us, the viewers, to examine the lives and heritage of these remarkable women.

The Virtues

Founding member of the Young British Artists Damien Hirst proves that one way of remaining true to yourself is by reinventing yourself. With his large-format Cherry Blossoms, he fulfilled an old dream of his and his mother’s: Back when he submerged a tiger shark in formaldehyde, she implored him to at least once paint flowers. Three years ago, he did just that. Working alone and in seclusion, Hirst spent three years producing an inordinate number of paintings. In all versions, he applied enormous quantities of paint onto canvases arranged in parallel in his London studio. He painted and dripped, he flung paint, he approached the canvas in a state of intoxication and stepped back to inspect it – until his vision, expressed in paint, resembled a Japanese cherry blossom. So far, these works could be admired at the Fondation Cartier and the National Art Center Tokyo. Anyone familiar with Hirst knows that for him the cherry blossom is a symbol not just of beauty but also of ephemerality. In this way, Hirst has remained true to his most central theme.

About the Artist

At the beginning there was a dot. Circular, neither too large nor too small, unimposing, coloured. One dot, plain and simple. It stood on the wall of a warehouse in London, an area converted into an exhibition space. Other dots soon appeared around this dot, equidistant from one another, painted onto the wall. A square grid of coloured dots emerged. To prove how diverse such a grid of coloured dots could be, Damien Hirst painted a second next to it. They were called “Edge” and “Row”.
The effect was so effortlessly successful, the focus on a theme so profound. How can colours so concentrated, so bare, and yet so full of meaning, become art, become an image style? “Edge” and “Row” were both a product and the beginning of an artistic approach to colour that has been continually evolving since 1988.
Some of the grids remind us of medicines in the pharmaceutical industry. The soft pastel colours and uniform patterns of the coloured pills suggest a pain-free zone. The cryptic title given to the series by Hirst is also evocative of pharmaceutical ingredients. They have names that, were you to place them next to one another and read aloud, would sound like a poem in concrete prose: Mepromate Lepidine Histidyl - Abalone Acetone Powder.
The transferability of meaning and the transformation of content is very much in keeping with the style of the artist. One might recall the live tiger shark Hirst submerged in formalin in 1991. A silent killer of the deepest oceans, it looked out at the viewers from inside an enormous blue container, mouth wide open, teeth razor sharp. The threatening work was given the name “The physical impossibility of death in the mind of someone living”. Can anyone divide public opinion and whip the global art market into a frenzy in such a way? In 2007 he produced a human skull made from platinum and encrusted with 8601 pure diamonds, including a 52 carat diamond centrepiece mounted on the forehead. The skull was bought by an investment group for around $100 million. The plot thickened as we later learned that Hirst himself was a member of the group.
Hirst’s art is created to be ambivalent and revolves around a focal point in his thinking: “I’ve got an obsession with death … But I think it’s like a celebration of life rather than something morbid”. Whether preserving animals in formalin, creating kaleidoscopic images from butterflies, or covering skull x-rays with captivating colour mixtures, the young Tate Modern artist always manages to give death a smile.

Stephan Reisner


1965   Born in Bristol, UK
1986-1989Goldsmith College „Fine Arts“
1988Curator of the exhibition „Freeze“, Surrey Docks, London, UK
1990Curator of the exhibition „Modern Medicine“, Building One, London, UK
2007The artwork “For the Love of God” is sold for € 75 Million and is the most expensive work of contemporary art according to British media reports
Lives in Devon and has Studios in London, Gloucester and Devon, UK


1995  Turner Prize


The artist’s works belong to numerous museums worldwide, including Tate Modern in London, the Astrup Fearnley Collection in Oslo, and the Museum of Fine Arts Boston.



 Damien Hirst: Oranges and Lemons, Galerie Bastian, Berlin, Germany

 Damien Hirst: Cut Grass – The New Jerusalem, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel

 Damien Hirst: The Virtues, Richard Levy Gallery, Albuquerque, New Mexico USA

2022 Damien Hirst: Cherry Blossoms, National Art Center, Tokyo, Japan

Damien Hirst: Myths, Legends and Monsters, Gagosian Gallery, Gstaad, Switzerland
Damien Hirst: Forgiving and Forgetting, Gagosian Gallery, New York, USA
2021 Damien Hirst: His Own Worst Enemy, White Cube, Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Damien Hirst: Forgiving and Forgetting, Gagosian Gallery, Rome, Italy
Damien Hirst: Cherry Blossoms, Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain, Paris, France
Damien Hirst: Cathedrals Built on Sand, Gagosian Gallery, Paris, France
2020 Damien Hirst: End of a Century, Newport Street Gallery, London, UK
Selections from The Last Supper, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, USA
2019 Damien Hirst: Mandalas, White Cube, London, UK
Sneaker Collab, MUDAC, Musée de design et d'arts appliques contemporains ,Lausanne, Switzerland
Damien Hirst, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield, UK
Damien Hirst: At Play, Gormleys Fine Art, Dublin, Irland
Damien Hirst: Cherry Blossoms, Portland Art Museum, Portland, USA
2018 Damien Hirst: Works from Schizophrenogenesis - Selected works, Galerie Boisséree, Cologne, Germany
Damien Hirst: Colour Space Paintings, Gagosian Gallery, New York, USA
Damien Hirst: Mickey and Minnie, Lots of Spots, A Big Heart and A Butterfly or Two ,Gormleys Fine Art, Belfast , UK
Damien Hirst: The Veil Paintings, Los Angeles, USA
Damien Hirst: Schizophrenogenesis Limited Edition Book Launch, Paul Stolper, London, UK
Damien Hirst, Galerie Bastian, Berlin, Germany
2017 Damien Hirst: Visual Candy and Natural History, Gagosian Gallery, Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Damien Hirst: Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable, Palazzo Grassi, François Pinault Foundation, Venice, Italy
Damien Hirst, Gary Tatintsian Gallery, Moscow, Russia
Damien Hirst, Gow Langsford Gallery, Auckland, New Zealand
2016 Damien Hirst: New Religion, Paul Stolper, Skopje, Macedonia
2015 Psalm Prints by Damien Hirst, Other Criteria, New York, USA
Damien Hirst, Astrup Fearnley Museet, Oslo, Norway
Damien Hirst x Lalique: ETERNAL ,Other Criteria, New York, USA
Damien Hirst, Aurel Scheibler, Berlin, Germany
Psalm Prints by Damien Hirst, Other Criteria, New York, USA
Damien Hirst: LOVE, Paul Stolper, London, UK
2014 Damien Hirst: Black Scalpel Cityscapes, White Cube, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Damien Hirst: Schizophrenogenesis, Paul Stolper, London, UK
2013 Damien Hirst: Freedom not Genius, Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow / Moscow House of Photography, Moscow, Russia
Damien Hirst: He Tried to Internalise Everything, 1992-1994, The New Art Gallery Walsall ,Walsall, UK
Damien Hirst: Entomology Cabinets and Paintings, Scalpel Blade Paintings and Colour Charts, White Cube, Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Damien Hirst: The Spot Woodcuts, Carolina Nitsch Contemporary Art, New York, USA
2012 Damien Hirst: Two Weeks One Summer, PinchukArtCentre, Kiev, Ukraine
Damien Hirst: Nucleohistone, Mattatoio Rome, Rome, Italy
Damien Hirst. Retrospective at Tate Modern, London, UK
Damien Hirst: The Complete Spot Paintings 1986-2011, Gagosian Gallery, New York, Beverly Hills, London, Paris, Rom, Genf, Athen, Hong Kong
Damien Hirst Donation, Arken Museum of Modern Art, Ishøj, Dänemark
2011Damien Hirst: Artist Rooms, Tate Britain, London, UK
2010Cornucopia, Musée océanographique de Monaco, Monte Carlo, Monaco
For the Love of God, Palazzo Vecchio, Florenz, Italien
2009Nothing Matters, White Cube/ Huxton Square/ Mason Yard, London, UK
2008Requiem, PinchukArtCentre, Kiew, Ukraine
For the Love of God, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Niederlande
Damien Hirst, Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, USA
2007Damien Hirst: Life, Death and Love, Kunsthuset Kabuso, Øystese, Norwegen
Damien Hirst: Four Works from the Board Art Foundation, Portland Art Museum, Portland, USA
2006The Death of God – Towards a Better Understanding of a Life Without God Aboard the Ship of Fools, Galeria Hilario Galguera, Mexico City, Mexiko
2005Damien Hirst, Astrup Fearnley Museet fur Moderne Kunst, Oslo, Norwegen
A Selection of Works by Damien Hirst from Various Collections, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, USA
2004The Agony and the Ecstasy: Selected Works from 1989 – 2004, Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli, Neapel, Italien

Romance in the Age of Uncertainty, White Cube/Hoxton Square, London, UK

2022 Best of British, Maddox Gallery, London, UK
Take Care: Art and Medicine, Kunsthaus Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland
Crown Jewels: Best of British Contemporary, Gormleys Fine Art, Dublin, Ireland
2021 Winter Contemporary, Maddox Gallery, Gstaad, Switzerland
The Art of Food, University of Arizona Museum of Art, Tucson, Arizona, USA
Ti Con Zero, Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome, Italy
The Hour Forever, Dellasposa, London, UK
Stützmappe and Bonobos: Synergies, BORCH Editions & Studio, Kopenhagen, Denmark
Summer Contemporary, Maddox Gallery, London, UK; Gstaad, Switzerland
Neo-Abstraction: Celebrating a Gift of Contemporary Art from John and Sara Shlesinger, Georgia Museum of Art, Athen, USA
Sante D'Orazio: Priests, Hall Art Foundation, Schloss Derneburg Museum, Hildesheim, Germany
POP Power from Warhol to Koons, Figge Art Museum, Davenport; David Owsley Museum of Art, Muncie, USA
Within Reach: Masters' Editions, Today Art Museum, Beijing, China
Signatures (X), Smallville, Neuchatel, Switzerland
Healing Power, Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands
2020 Love, Life, Death, and Desire: An Installation of the Center’s Collections, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, USA
Artcels Presents 'XXI’, HOFA Gallery, Mykonos, Greece
Colección Jumex: On The Razor’s Edge, Museo Jumex , Mexico City, Mexiko
Lichtblicke, Galerie Koch, Hannover, Germany
Animals in Art, Arken Museum of Modern Art, Ishøj, Denmark
Mythologies: The Beginning And End Of Civilizations, ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Århus, Denmark
Astrup Fearnley Collection, Astrup Fearnley Museet, Oslo, Norway
Animals in Art, Arken Museum of Modern Art, Ishøj, Denmark
2019 Accrochage, Galerie Boisséree, Köln, Germany
Objects of Wonder: From Pedestal to Interaction, ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Århus, Denmark
One Way Ticket to Mars, Kunsthal KAdE, Amersfoort, Netherlands
Stützmappe, BORCHs Butik ,Kopenhagen, Denmark
Objects of Wonder. British Sculpture from the Tate Collection 1950s – Present, PalaisPopulaire, Berlin, Germany
Modern and Contemporary Works from the Permanent Collection, Middlebury College Museum of Art, Middlebury, USA
2018 Au rendez-vous des amis, Aurel Scheibler, Berlin, Germany
The Last Image. Photography and Death, C/O Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Do it, Kalamazoo Institute of Arts. Kalamazoo, USA
Gonzalo Torné & Quico Rivas, CAC Málaga, Malaga, Spain
Ellos y nosotros (Them and Us), Es Baluard, Museum of Modern & Contemporary Art, Palma De Mallorca, Spain
Sights & Sounds: Art, Nature, and the Senses, Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, USA
Memory Palace, White Cube, London, UK
Democracy Anew?, PinchukArtCentre, Kiev, Ukraine
Walking On The Fade Out Lines, Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai, China
WOW!, Leopold Museum ,Vienna, Austria
Brit Art, Rhodes Contemporary Art, London, UK
2017 Jewellery by Artists: From Picasso to Koons. Diane Venet’s Collection, LNMM, Latvian National Museum of Art, Riga, Latvia
Like a Moth to a flame, OGR - Officine Grandi Riparazioni, Turin, Italy
We Are Not Alone, Athr Gallery, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Beyond Limits, Sotheby's London, UK
Giving back to Nature, Opera Gallery, Beirut, Lebanon
Colori. The Emotions of Color in Art, Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art, Turin, Italy
Palm Springs Popup, Ikon Ltd., Santa Monica, USA
2016 Art Against Art, Parkett Editions, Zürich, Switzerland
Creature, The Broad, Los Angeles, USA
In the Cage of Freedom, Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Wolfsburg, Germany
Corpus: Anatomical Theatre, National Centre for Contemporary Arts, St. Petersburg, Russia
Skulls, Fried Contemporary, Pretoria, South Africa
Curated By (?), Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin, Italy
Sculpture on the Move 1946–2016, Kunstmuseum Basel, Basel, Switzerland
Audacious: Contemporary Artists Speak Out, Denver Art Museum, Denver, USA
LIFE ITSELF, Moderna Museet, Stockholm ,Stockholm, Sweden
2015 The World is Made of Stories, Astrup Fearnley Museet, Oslo, Norway
Wintertime, Aurel Scheibler, Berlin, Germany
Maurizio Nannucci: Top Hundred, Museion, Museo d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Bolzano, Italy
Beyond Limits: The Landscape of British Sculpture 1950-2015, Sotheby's London, UK
What We Call Love: From Surrealism to Now, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, Ireland
The Rise of Sneaker Culture, Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York, USA
Fire and Forget on Violence, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, Germany
Magnificent Obsessions: The Artist as Collector, Barbican Art Gallery, London, UK
2014 Peter Marino: One Way, Bass Museum of Art, Miami, USA
CORNUCOPIA, Parkett Editions, Zürich, Switzerland
Beyond and Between, Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul, South Korea
Art Multiples, 313 Art Project, Seoul, South Korea
14 Rooms, Art Basel, Basel, Switzerland
Second Life, KMAC Museum ,Louisville, USA
Front Row, CFA, Contemporary Fine Arts, Berlin, Germany
2013 Love, Now More Than Ever, Mori Art Museum, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan
The Gesture and the Sign, White Cube, São Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil
2012 Don't Be Shy, Don't Hold Back ,SFMOMA, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art ,San Francisco, California, USA
ARTandPRESS - Art. Truth. Reality., ZKM | Center for Art & Media, Karlsruhe, Germany
12 Rooms, Museum Folkwang Essen, Essen, Germany
Made in Britain : Modern Art from the British Council Collection, Benaki Museum of Greek Culture, Athen, Greece
Regarding Warhol: Sixty Artists, Fifty Years, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA
Art and Press, ZKM/ Museum of Contemporary Art, Karlsruhe, Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin, Deutschland
12 Rooms: Ruhr Triennale 2012, Museum Folkwang, Essen, Deutschland
British Design 1948 – 2012: Innovation in the Modern Age, Victoria Albert Museum, London, UK
Made in Britain: Modern Art from the British Council Collection, Benaki Museum, Athen, Griechenland
2011O’Clock: time design, design time, Triennale di Milano, Mailand, Italien
In the Name of the Artists – American Contemporary Art from the Astrup Fearnley Collection, Bienal pavilion, Sao Paulo, Brasilien
Selected works from the Francois Pinault Collection: Agony and Ecstasy, ongeun Artspace, Seoul, Korea
Yokohama Triennale, Yokohama Museum of Art, Japan
Fondazione Prada _ Ca'Corner della Regina, Prada Foundation, Venedig, Italien
The Luminous Interval, Guggenheim, Bilbao, Spanien
2010Plus Ultra, Macro, Rom, Italien
Have You Ever Really Looked at the Sun?, Haunch of Vension, Berlin, Deutschland
I LOVE YOU, ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Arhus, Dänemark
C’est la vie: Vanités de Caravage à Damien Hirst, Musée Maillol, Paris, Frankreich
2009BAROCK – Art, Science, Faith and Technology in the Contemporary Age, MADRE, Neapel, Italien
Medicine and Art: Imagining a Future for Life and Love, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan
Pop Life, Tate Modern, London, UK, 2010 Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Deutschland
15 Years of Collecting - Against the Grain, Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Deutschland
Spridd isolerad konst (Scattered and Isolated Art), Kalmar Art Museum, Kalmar, Schweden
2008Drei. Das Triptychon In Der Moderne, Kunstmuseum Stuttgart, Deutschland
Art, Price and Value – Contemporary art and the market, Palazzo Strozzi, Florenz, Italien
Statuephilia, British Museum, London, UK
END GAME – British Contemporary Art from the Chaney Family Collection, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, USA
Blood on Paper: The Art of the Book, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK
Color Chart: Reinventing Color, 1950 to Today, MOMA, New York, USA
The Inaugural Installation, Broad Contemporary Art Museum at LACMA, Los Angeles, USA
2007Art Machines – Machine Art, Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt/M, Deutschland 
Reflection, PinchukArtCentre, Kiew, Ukraine
Turner Prize: A Retrospective, Tate Britain, London, UK
Contemporary and Cutting Edge: Pleasures of Collecting, Part III, Bruce Museum, Greenwich, USA
David Bailey & Damien Hirst: The Stations of the Cross, Essl Museum of Contemporary Art, Wien, Österreich
RE-OBJECT, Kunsthaus Bregenz, Bregenz, Österreich
Draw, Middlesborough Institute of Modern Art, Middlesborough, UK
2006Aftershock: Contemporary British Art, 1990-2006, Guangdong Museum of Art, Peking, China
The François Pinault Collection, a Post-Pop Selection, Palazzo Grassi, Venedig, Italien
RADAR: Selections from the Collection of Vicki & Kent Logan, Denver Art Museum, USA
Visitaciones, Museo de San Carlos, Mexico City, Mexiko
Into Me / Out of Me, PS1 MOMA, New York, USA
Tokyo Blossoms: Deutsche Bank Collection meets Zaha Hadid, Hara Museum, Tokyo, Japan
2005Rückkehr ins All/ Return to Space, Hamburger Kunsthalle, Deutschland
Douglas Gordon’s The Vanity of Allegory, Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin, Deutschland
Contemporary Voices: Works from the UBS Art Collection, MOMA, New York, USA
Prague Biennale 2, Prag, Tschechien
2004From Moore to Hirst: Sixty Years of British Sculpture, National Museum Of Art, Bukarest, Rumänien
Intra-muros, Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain, Nizza, Frankreich
Works and Days: Acquisitions for the Louisiana Collection 2000-2004, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Dänemark
Monument To Now, Nea Ionia Exhibition Space, DESTE Foundation for Contemporary Art, Athen, Griechenland
La Collection d’Art Contemporain D’Agnes B, Les Abattoirs, Toulouse, Frankreich
Secrets of the ‘90s, Museum voor Moderne Kunst Arnhem, Arnhem, Niederlande
In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, Tate Britain, London, UK
Turning Points: 20th Century British Sculpture, Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, Teheran, Iran
2003Dreams and Conflicts: The Dictatorship of the Viewer, 50. Biennale Venedig, Italien
1997Sensation: Young British Artists from the Saatchi Collection, Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK
1988Freeze, Surrey Docks, London, UK