Damien Hirst at the Tate Modern

This wednesday I visited the Damien Hirst exhibition at the Tate Modern in London, this exhibition has had vast critical acclaim and promises to be his biggest and best exhibition to date, compiling of new and old work.
This exhibition has been four years worth of planning to perfectly present the world famous work Hirst has produced. Not only this, everything has been meticulously arranged to be exactly how he wants this work to be seen, it is truly perfection. 

Before diving into his work it's well worth taking the time to watch the Channel 4 programme Damien Hirst: The First Look. This is a fascinating, one of method of seeing and understanding his work in such an in depth and interesting manor. This programme is lead by the comedian Noel Fielding, who takes a walk around the exhibition with Hirst, quizzing him on the methodology in his work. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, this programme is a must watch for anyone and everyone. 

A Thousand Years 1990 (Image sourced from http://www.damienhirst.com/images/hirstimage/DHS1814_771_0.jpg)
One of my favourite pieces of work in the exhibition was A Thousand Years 1990. This piece of work stands for a real life god. In this box you are born and killed. 
Inside the box glass cabinet is a white box to the left, this holds maggots, which are born, then turn into flys, which end up eating on the severed cow's head and eventually die from flying into the fly trap.
When put simply it's a very gruesome and shocking piece of work, but once you start to objectively understand it you can see the relevance and the pure genius this piece of work is. 
This piece of work can not be avoided or ignored, it has everything. "The smell punches you in the face, the imagery punches you in the face" (Noel Fielding, Damien Hirst: The First Look, Channel 4, 17:01)
Life is portrayed as chance in this piece of art work, just as life itself. 
Overall it has an astonishing amount of presence, you have to take notice to this piece of work. And for that i see it as the greatest piece of art work i've ever seen. Never before have i seen a piece of work which universally astonished people and draws attention or a reaction out of everyone. This piece of work only has a certain shelf life, its only so long before all the fly's die. Because of this it has a refreshing sense on reality, something which helps everyone relate and understand too. Right in front of your eyes you can see fly's being born and dying. Never before or ever again do i think this will be as perfectly portrayed.

Crematorium 1996 (Image sourced from http://chloenelkin.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/ashtray.jpg
Another piece of work from Hirst that really had an impact upon me was Crematorium 1996, this piece is, when put simply, a giant ash-tray full of cigarettes. 
But in actually fact it has a very interesting deeper meaning to it, something which is evident in all of his work. This piece explains the absurd nature of smoking, how the contents of the ash-tray which is laid out before you ecumilate to the twice the weight of a cremated body. Coming to grips with how much crap is in cigarettes, along side with how many of them one may consume in a life time is fascinating. 
It hit me on a very personal level as well, as when i went to see the exhibition i was on day three of me quitting smoking, seeing this piece of art reminded me of how ludicrous it is to smoke. If anything, this piece of work has helped me have the drive to quit for good. 

Overall the entire exhibition has a strong motif of death, something which all of his pieces of work combat, something which has in the past given him the nickname of "Mr Death". However raising questions and the realisation of death, as perfectly as Damien Hirst has is the most fascinating manor ever.
In short, this is the biggest and best exhibition you will ever see, its a must for everyone. You won't regret it. 

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