Friday, 6 April 2012

Hirst the Worst or Damien is Best?

This week saw the opening of a Damien Hirst Retrospective nicely timed for The Olympics.
A melee of Collectors, facelifts, Italian Suits, minor celebrities, Art Glitterati & London Gutter-ati {which is most relevant to me!} descended into the Tate Modern.

I had exceedingly low expectations, having been to a few Hirst Openings in the past.
To be honest, most of the work looked like Dubai restaurant chic, or something in a nice wallpaper magazine spread. {Ironically, it's worked well on both platforms.}

However, the brilliance of Damien Hirst's early work soon got my juices going. There was a butterfly room, specially commissioned for the exhibiton, where butterflies fly freely in amongst flowers & rotting fruit. It was the best thing about the show. A violet butterfly even sat on my quiff. It got more snapped than Ronnie Wood, who was also posing with a brown butterfly at the same time!

I witnessed negative mutterings & sighs of disdain from various artworks giants   {Mind you, they tend to do this very well! } However the general feelings of rage stemmed from how one dimensional & shallow most of it felt. A bit like drinking too much champagne - but I can't see what's wrong with that in the long run. We all love bit of champers innit!

Due to my recent conversion to Instagram, I snapped away unaided & unstopped by any ushers. It occurred to me that Hirst's real talent was in making iconic statements, which magnified beautifully through a smart phone reality. God Bless Social Networking!

My favourite work is Hirst's 'A Thousand Years.' It's been described: 'A very provocative work that actually contains an entire lifecycle of several maggots. The maggots hatch out of a minimal white box and then feed on a cow's head conveniently placed in the larger glass case. Some of the flies then die in the "insect-o-cuter" while other survive to continue their rather revolting cycle.'
For all of the Hirst haters, this is the one piece that is evocative of a thousand metaphors for the cycle of life & death.

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