Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Damien Hirst - Tate Modern

Never a fan of Tuesdays, a nice bit of modern art was an uplifting prospect to see me through the day. And whilst uplifting is not perhaps the adjective I would use to describe Damien Hirst's new exhibition, it was certainly quite a punchy way to overcome my doomsday blues.

And so, yesterday evening, my friend Moggy and I headed down to  Tate Modern  for the private view of this undeniably polarising artist.

After a quick glass of white in the dark upstairs of the turbine hall, we headed up to the exhibition itself (somewhat distracted by the beauty of Rosie Huntington-Whitely - dear god is that girl human?!). 

As the first substantial review of the artist's work from the last 20 years, the anticipation for this event has been well publicised; both negatively and positively. I felt pretty lucky to be one of the first to see it - though kicked myself for not watching Noel Fielding's 'The First Look' on the tellybox on Monday to get me some background.

But with a little briefing from dear Mogs: 'It's about death, all about death' - it soon became apparent that he wasn't far wrong. From the notorious formaldehyde preserved animals, to the rows of pharmeceuticals - there was a nod, and an aggressive one at that, to Hirst's obsession with mortality in nearly all of the works we saw.

The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living 1991

We queued to get into In and Out of Love, passing through a room of dead butterflies and into a sweat box full of hundreds of living ones, the walls covered in cocoons yet to hatch. It was surreal and sad - it felt like a lesson in the fragility of life, almost a warning to catch it before it's gone. 

In and Out of Love 1991

We wandered on, feeling increasingly trippy: the endless dot, butterfly and pill motifs suddenly getting jazzier in frames of gold and mirrors. Giant ashtrays filled with fag butts and rotating garish canvasses only adding to the weird atmosphere.

The Void 2000

An hour or two later and we stepped back out into the pouring rain, brows furrowed and heads full of what we'd seen - thoughts of Tuesday's terribleness fully erased.

Open until 9th September, the exhibition is definitely worth a visit. Astounding artist or complete con, you decide, though I'm yet to make my mind up about this Hirst man.

The Incomplete Truth 2006

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