Art is divine

Trees of Life

By Alessandra Cenna

FONDATION CARTIER

Paris

July 6, 2021 - January 2, 2022

 

DAMIEN HIRST

Cherry Blossoms

Spiritual Day Blossom, 2018

Collection Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain Oil on canvas 305 × 244 cm | 120 × 96 in

© Damien Hirst and Science Ltd.All rights reserved, DACS 2021.

Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates.

Damien Hirst, 2019

© Damien Hirst and Science Ltd.

All rights reserved, DACS 2020

View from Damien Hirst’s studio

© Damien Hirst and Science Ltd.

All rights reserved, DACS 2021.

Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates.

“Cherry blossoms” is Damien Hirst's first institutional exhibition in France.

The Bristol-born 1965 English artist is widely known for his provocative works from his grandmother's medicine cabinet to his diamond-set skulls and flies.

In a completely different style, he is now exhibiting a very fine series of flowering trees at the Foundation Cartier in Paris. Four rooms are dedicated to it, two of them open to the light of the garden and the other two into the privacy of the basement.

Damien Hirst has produced, on this bucolic and floral theme, one hundred and seven canvases, twenty nine of which are in large format.

Never before revealed to the public, these works were produced over three years and completed in November 2020. Damien Hirst, therefore painted some of his canvases during the period of confinement in his London studio on the banks of the Thames.

The pandemic gave the artist time to mature his creations to let his flowers invade his universe in multiple variations of hues and shapes. True physical work of the creator in his dialogue with immense nature, Damien Hirst exhibits his paintings without commentary in the form of simple panels, diptychs, triptychs and even quadriptychs and hexaptyches.

On the immaculate walls, it is a true hymn to color, a vibrant tribute to the beauty of cherry blossoms under a luminous sky.


The colors of the petals are intense, almost violent. For some paintings he used the full range of reds, pinks and whites with hints of yellow, orange, dark blue. On the other hand, for others the colors are imbued with great tenderness. This accumulation of spots evokes impressionism or pointillism in this idea of accounting not for reality but for what it provokes in viewers.

 

Damien Hirst moves away from the minimalism of sculpture to focus on the spontaneity of the pictorial gesture.

 

This solitary work in the color studio had started for him with his "Spots Painting", circles of colors always the same size but never repeating the same shade once.

 

In contrast in "Veil Paintings", the tones overlapped in thick serifs or scattered dots with overflows and smudges.

The theme of life and death is omnipresent in Damien Hirst's creativity, but it is treated here with a joyful irony in a veritable jubilant explosion.

 

Flowers embody this fleeting beauty of spring, destined to disappear to give way to fruits at the onset of summer in a ballet as eternal as it is ephemeral of nature.

 

These "Cherry Blossoms" offer an exhilarating bath of petals in which to immerse your soul to draw strength, a breath beyond these flowering trees of life and dreams.

 

 “Life is a cherry. Death is a nucleus. Love a cherry tree. "

Jacques Prévert "Song of the Month of May“ 1946

Cherry Blossoms - Damien Hirst

Cartier Foundation - Paris www.fondationcartier.com

Fantasia Blossom, 2018

Private collection

Oil on canvas  274 × 183 cm | 108 × 72 in

© Damien Hirst and Science Ltd.

All rights reserved, DACS 2021.

Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates.


The Triumph of Death Blossom, 2018 Private collection Oil on canvas 549 × 732 cm | 216 × 288 in © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd.

All rights reserved, DACS 2021. Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates.