United Kingdom, 1965
Comprehensively known for his captivation of death and physical mortality, Damien Hirst is one of the most influential artists today. His most famous works include dead animal displays, spin-paintings, oversized semi-dissected sculptures and carefully constructed drug displays. The intense play with lifeless bodies and luxurious materials such as gold and diamonds warrants a somewhat confused emotional reaction to his work. Human skulls, insects, dead sharks and cattle; all have become eternalized in his artwork. He was the most prominent member of the “Young British Artists” group in the 1980’s and 1990’s. His unconventional approach of letting other artists realize his visions as well as his entrepreneurial philosophy of selling his art through auctions at Sotheby’s rather than via exhibitions at classic galleries has allegedly led him to become the richest living artist of today.
This British artist, born in Bristol in 1965, grew up in Leeds were he first developed a fascination for mortality and the fragility of the human experience. By the age of sixteen, Hirst started to make life drawings at the anatomy department of Leeds Medical School. Hirst studied in London for a BA in Fine Art at Goldsmiths College from 1986 to 1989. Hirst began working with more sculptural and three-dimensional techniques, which laid the foundation to the “Medicine Cabinets”. In 1988, alongside his fellow students, he curated the groundbreaking exhibition ‘Freeze’ that caught the eye of collector Charles Saatchi.
Hirst had his first solo exhibition at the Woodstock Street Gallery in London in 1991. He first displayed "The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living", a 14-foot long dead shark preserved in formaldehyde, which brought him media attention from around the globe. In 1993, Hirst presented "Mother and Child Divided" at the Venice Biennale. He was awarded with the prestigious Turner Prize in 1995.
In 2007, Hirst unveiled "For the Love of God", a platinum skull encrusted with 8,601 flawless diamonds, widely featured as the most expensive current piece of art.
By the age of 47, Hirst’s significant contribution to British art was recognized with a major retrospective at Tate Modern. The artist lives in London, Devon and Gloucestershire.
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