Listed among the world’s most successful living artists, Damien Hirst’s work often ignites controversy and operates as a catalyst for introspection among viewers. His subject matter strikes at the heart of humanity’s shared and yet most concealed insecurities, doubts and frailties as he redefines the boundaries of religion, art, science, philosophy and their role in the life of post-modern man.
Saint Sebastian, Exquisite Pain, Hirst’s arrow-pierced bullock, serves as the exhibition’s focal point, uniting all the works with shared themes, death vs. life, beauty vs. violence. His use of non-traditional artistic representations to depict the classical imagery of the religious martyr not only captures the Saint’s orthodox iconography, but also, along with other works featured in the exhibition, The Incomplete Truth, and Saint Bartholomew, emphasizes both the beauty and violence in death by juxtaposing the created image with what it actually is, a dead animal.
Damien Hirst was born in Bristol, UK in 1965 and graduated from Goldsmiths College in 1989. Noted as the organizer of the now legendary Freeze exhibition of 1988, Hirst is widely recognized as the most prominent of the Young British Artists. He has become notorious for works such as, For the Love of God (2008), a platinum and diamond encrusted skull; The Physical Impossibility of Death in the mind of Something Living (1997), a shark encased in a tank of formaldehyde; and his record-breaking Sotheby’s Auction, Beautiful Inside My Head Forever, which established an unprecedented and direct relationship between artist and auction house. He has exhibited internationally with White Cube, the Tate, Saatchi Gallery, Museo Nazionale Archeologico, and Gagosian Gallery, among others. Solo exhibitions include: Pharmacy, Tate Gallery, London, 1999; Damien Hirst, The Saatchi Gallery, London, 2003; Romance In the Age of Uncertainty, White Cube, London, 2003; The Death of God. Towards a Better Understanding of a Life Without God Aboard the Ship of Fools, Galería Hilario Galguera, Mexico, 2006; New Religion, Paul Stolper Gallery and Wallspace, London, 2007; Beautiful Inside My Head Forever, Sotheby’s Auction, London, 2008; For the Love of God, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, 2008; No Love Lost, The Wallace Collection, London, 2009; Life, Death and Love, Galerie Rudolfinum, Prague, 2009. He also received the prestigious Turner Prize in 1995 for his work, Mother and Child Divided.