ART / HOW DAMIEN HIRST'S NEW EXHIBITION MESSES WITH OUR MINDS.
That's not your typical exhibition where you stand in front of some artwork and find it "interesting", "impressive", or even "pretty". It's not either the type of exhibition where you pretend you understand the artist's message when you clearly don't; Damien Hirst's latest exhibition "The Wreak of the Unbelievable" goes much further than that.
First off, who's this guy ?
Some of you must be probably surprised that others don't know who Damien Hirst is. Yes, he's very famous, but unfortunately not everybody knows him, and not everybody likes him. However, it's not really about liking him, in fact Hirst's most known artworks aren't the type of ones you'd like to have in your living room. Once again, Damien Hirst is different, bold, and sometimes even provocative, but that's what made him the richest English artist.
Born in 1965 in a modest family living in Leeds, you probably wouldn't have predicted Hirst to become a successful artist. With the help of his art teacher, Hirst attended high school despite his poor grades. However, his A-level in art got him an E and he was first refused from the Leeds College of Art (but was later accepted thanks to a two year course he had taken in high school) and then from the St. Martin School. He finally attends Goldsmith's College of Art, located in London. During his studies, Hirst became interested in the theme of death and what it represents. Indeed he worked in a mortuary and, once he had finished his studies, continued working on this theme. One of his most famous artwork is a series of animal dead bodies cut in parallel lines presented in aquariums. He goes further in 2003 by splashing animal blood on the walls and floor of his exhibition. In 2007, Hirst sold the skull of a man from the XVIIIth century where he had added more than eight thousand diamonds in the skull for $100 million.
Obviously, all of this lead to a lot of criticism, and it wasn't always positive. First there were the animal defenders, that even today still fight against Hirst's artwork; But, this isn't surprising. What is surprising is what we discovered in a documentary made by Ben Lewis: the $100 million skull was bought by an investment group, of which Hirst is part of and that's not all. Furthermore, in 2008, instead of working with galleries, Hirst organized an auction to sell his artwork which was sold at way higher prices than we would've expected. The thing is, the same Ben Lewis swears that two merchants of goods were present in the auction, and helped exaggeratedly raise the prices to make the rest of the buyers think that the artwork is worth a lot more...
Businessman or artist, and in my opinion both, Damien Hirst surprised us all once again in his latest exhibition located in Venice.
Located in Venice, Damien Hirst choose two different places to showcase his artwork, both owned by the french billionaire François Pinault. The exhibit contained more than 200 objects that look like to be in marble, gold, bronze, crystal and much more.
When you enter the exhibition, you are told the tale of Cif Amotan II, a freed slave that apparently became very rich and brought many artefacts on a boat called "Unbelievable". This boat later sank, and left all those artefacts buried deep down in the sea. Apparently, Hirst would've discovered this statues in the sea near East Africa. Indeed, you look up and are met with those huge antic statues, one of them being 18 meters tall. They are covered in plants, algae and are really impressive. They have pictures hanged on the walls of Hirst's team getting the statues out of the sea and even did a film about it.
Isn't all of this "beautiful" ? "Impressive" ? ... Remember what I told you before ? Damien Hirst's artwork isn't beautiful or impressive, it messes with your mind. Here's the catch: all of this is fake. The tale is fake, the film and pictures are fake, the 18 meter long statue is fake, and it's made of resin... A friend of mine even told me he could read the world "MATTEL" in the back one of the statues.
And then when you look a bit closer, you recognize Pharrel William's face on one of the statues of an Egyptian man, and even see Mickey Mouse on an other.
This is Damien Hirst we're talking about, not you average artist. He fools us, confuses us, messes with our minds, and that's what makes him one of the most famous contemporary artists.