Extended through March 3, 2018
I had my stomach pumped as a child because I ate pills thinking they were sweets. . . . I can’t understand why some people believe completely in medicine and not in art, without questioning either.
Gagosian is pleased to present Visual Candy and Natural History, a selection of paintings and sculptures by Damien Hirst from the early to mid-1990s. The exhibition coincides with Hirst’s most ambitious and complex project to date, Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable, on view at Palazzo Grassi and Punta della Dogana in Venice until December 3.
Since emerging on the international art scene in the late 1980s as the protagonist of a generation of British artists, Hirst has created installations, sculptures, paintings, and drawings that examine the complex relationships between art, beauty, religion, science, life and death. Through series as diverse as the Spot Paintings, Medicine Cabinets, Natural History, and the butterfly Kaleidoscope Paintings, he has investigated and challenged contemporary belief systems, tracing the uncertainties that lie at the heart of human experience. This exhibition juxtaposes the joyful, colorful abstractions of his Visual Candy paintings with the clinical forms of his Natural History sculptures.
The Visual Candy paintings allude to movements including Impressionism, Abstract Expressionism, and Pop Art, while the Natural History sculptures—glass tanks containing biological specimens preserved in formaldehyde—reflect the visceral realities of scientific investigation through minimalist design. Despite their stark formal differences, the two series were made during the same period and share conceptual foundations: an exploration of the relationships between pleasure and pain, transience and permanence, logic and emotion.
In the Visual Candy paintings, the saturated hues of bubblegum pinks, acid greens, and bold blues merge and overlap in loose ovals of thick impasto or repetitive, pointillist-style blots. With euphoric titles such as Happy Happy Happy (1993–94), Wowee Zowee (1993), and Super Silly Fun (1993), the works revel in color and pattern through an informal, nostalgic painting technique, which stands in opposition to the mechanical application of color in Hirst’s spot paintings.
The exuberance of the Visual Candy paintings contrasts with the sterility of the Natural History sculptures, but the works harmonize when viewed together. The paintings—jubilant and playful, almost decorative—create a sense of comfort against which the full violence of the formaldehyde works can be felt.
赫斯特於1980年後期以英國藝術先驅的身份在國際藝壇崛起，透過藝術裝置、雕塑、油畫和繪畫審視藝術、美學、宗教、科學與生死之間的複雜關係。他的作品變化萬千，囊括《圓點畫》(Spot Paintings)系列，《醫藥箱》(Medicine Cabinets)系列，《自然歷史》(Natural History)系列及蝴蝶《萬花筒》(Kaleidoscope)系列，既有家用油漆，也有蝴蝶翅膀，銳意探索及挑戰現代信仰體系，追尋人類體驗核心的不確定性。是次展覽將會同場展出歡欣繽紛的抽象風格作品《視覺糖果》(Visual Candy) 系列畫作，以及頗具醫學意味的《自然歷史》(Natural History)雕塑。
在《視覺糖果》系列畫作中，赫斯特以泡泡糖粉紅色、螢光綠色和鮮藍色等濃豔色調的顏料厚塗，塗抹出鬆散的橢圓形圖案，又或與重複的點畫風格斑點交織重疊。《快樂快樂快樂》(Happy Happy Happy，1993–94年)、《Wowee Zowee》(1993年)和《超級傻樂》(Super Silly Fun，1993年)等作品的標題輕鬆歡快，透過隨心的傳統繪畫技巧，展現繽紛的色彩和圖案，與赫斯特圓點畫作的嚴謹著色手法形成強烈對比。
For Sale: Baby Shoes. Never Worn.
Sydney Stutterheim meditates on the power and possibilities of small-format artworks throughout time.
In the Studio: Damien Hirst’s Veil Paintings
Damien Hirst speaks about his Veil paintings with Gagosian’s Alison McDonald. “I wanted to make paintings that were a celebration,” he says, “and that revealed something and obscured something at the same time.”
Damien Hirst: Visual Candy
James Fox considers the origins of Damien Hirst’s Visual Candy paintings on the occasion of a recent exhibition of these early works in Hong Kong.
Damien Hirst: Colour Space Paintings
Blake Gopnik examines the artist’s “dot” paintings in relation to the history of representation in Western art, in which dabs of paint have served as fundamental units of depiction and markers of objective truth.
The River Café Cookbook
London’s River Café, a culinary mecca perched on a bend in the River Thames, celebrated its thirtieth anniversary in 2018. To celebrate this milestone and the publication of her cookbook River Café London, cofounder Ruth Rogers sat down with Derek Blasberg to discuss the famed restaurant’s allure.
Visions of the Self: Jenny Saville on Rembrandt
Jenny Saville reveals the process behind her new self-portrait, painted in response to Rembrandt’s masterpiece Self-Portrait with Two Circles.
Relics and Fly Paintings
Open from June 5, 2021
Britannia Street, London