press release… Damien Hirst

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Damien Hirst


Wednesday 4 April – Sunday 9 September 2012

Press release: 21 November 2011

Press Release
21 November 2011

Damien Hirst
4 April – 9 September 2012 (Press view: 2 April 2012)
Sponsored by the Qatar Museums Authority
Tate Modern

Open every day from 10.00–18.00 and late until 22.00 on Friday and Saturday
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In 2012, Tate Modern will present the first substantial survey of Damien Hirst’s work ever held in the UK. Hirst is widely regarded as one of the most important artists working today and has created some of the most iconic works in recent history. Sponsored by the Qatar Museums Authority, the exhibition will provide a journey through two decades of Hirst’s inventive practice. It will also form part of the London 2012 Festival, the culmination of the Cultural Olympiad.

Damien Hirst first came to public attention in London in 1988 when he conceived and curated Freeze, an exhibition of his own work and that of his friends and fellow Goldsmiths College students, staged in a disused London warehouse. In the nearly quarter of a century since that pivotal show, Hirst has become one of the most influential artists of his generation.

Bringing together over seventy of the artist’s seminal works, the exhibition will include sculptures from the early 1990s, such as The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, in which he suspended a shark in formaldehyde and Mother and Child Divided, a four-part sculpture of a bisected cow and calf. Also on show will be important vitrines, such as A Thousand Years 1990, in which the cycle of life is represented by a cow’s head, flies and insect-o-cutor. Alongside these sculptures will be cabinets displaying rows of pills, instruments and medical packaging, as well as paintings made throughout Hirst’s career from his spot, spin, butterfly and fly series. In addition, two major installations will be on view: In and Out of Love 1991, which has not been shown in its entirety since its creation, andPharmacy 1992.

Damien Hirst was born in 1965 in Bristol, UK. He lives and works in London and Devon. He is one of the most prominent artists to have emerged from the British art scene in the 1990s. Hirst’s exploration of imagery is notable for its strong associations to life and death, and to belief and value systems.

Damien Hirst has participated in numerous group exhibitions including the Venice Biennale in 1993 and 2003; Twentieth Century British Sculpture, Jeu de Paume, Paris, 1996; Extreme Abstraction, Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, 2005; Into Me / Out of Me, P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, New York, 2006; Re-Object, Kunsthaus Bregenz, 2007 and Color Chart: Reinventing Color 1950 to Today, Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2008. Solo exhibitions include Internal Affairs, ICA, London, 1991; Astrup Fearnley Museum, Oslo, 1997; The Agony and the Ecstasy, Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Naples, 2004; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 2005; For the Love of God, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, 2008 and Palazzo Vecchio, Florence, 2010/1. He received the DAAD fellowship in Berlin in 1994 and won the Turner Prize in 1995.

Damien Hirst is curated by Ann Gallagher, Head of Collections (British Art), Tate, with Loren Hansi Momodu, Assistant Curator, Tate Modern and is coordinated by Sophie McKinlay, Project Manager, Tate Modern. The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue by Tate Publishing.

For further information please contact Duncan Holden / Rose Dahlsen, Tate Press Office

Call 020 7887 4939/8731     Email     Visit

Notes to Editors

About Qatar Museums Authority

Qatar Museums Authority (QMA) was founded in 2005 by His Highness the Emir, Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani. Under the leadership of its Chairperson, H.E. Sheikha Al Mayassa, QMA is transforming the State of Qatar into a cultural hub for the Middle East. The globally acclaimed Museum of Islamic Art, designed by I.M. Pei, was inaugurated in 2008. In 2010, Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art opened, creating a focus for the emerging modern and contemporary art scene in the region. The National Museum of Qatar is currently being developed in a major new building designed by Jean Nouvel. The ambitious forward programme is gathering pace including large-scale exhibitions by international artists, showing in the Middle East for the first time. Among these are Cai Guo-Qiang, opening in December 2011, Louise Bourgeois, opening in January 2012, and Takashi Murakami, opening in February 2012. In December this year, the new MIA Park designed by Pei Partnership Architects will be inaugurated featuring the first public artwork by Richard Serra in the Middle East.

For further information, please visit

About the Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival

The London 2012 Cultural Olympiad is the largest cultural celebration in the history of the modern Olympic and Paralympic Movements.  Spread over four years, it is designed to give everyone in the UK a chance to be part of London 2012 and inspire creativity across all forms of culture, especially among young people.

The culmination of the Cultural Olympiad will be the London 2012 Festival, bringing leading artists from all over the world together from 21 June 2012 in this UK-wide festival – a chance for everyone to celebrate London 2012 through dance, music, theatre, the visual arts, fashion, film and digital innovation.

Principal funders of the Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival are Arts Council England, Legacy Trust UK and the Olympic Lottery Distributor.  BP and BT are Premier Partners of the Cultural Olympiad and the London 2012 Festival.

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