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April 17 2009 6 17 /04 /April /2009 11:46

Hirst in Ukraine? The one who made a scandal in the art world by selling by himself, for a $100 millions dollars, a skull made of over 8000 diamonds ; is offering to the Ukrainians more than a large retrospective, an exclusive new series of skull paintings at the PinchukArtCentre of Kyiv : "Requiem".

The title fits perfectly to the main interests of Damien Hirst : Death and religion. As the new series continue to explore the intimate relation of men with death, Requiem, a Mass celebrated for the dead, gives a panel of pieces where the viewer confronts himself with what he tries to forget, or what he is fighting against but that will always win.
The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living (1991), a work which made him famous, is a real shark whose corpse is conserved in formalin, and shows the decomposition's process of the body: it is a direct demonstration of the reality of death and its terrible truth. The new works that will be exhibited, The Meek Shall Inherit the Earth, Men shall Know Nothing or Floating Skull turn toward the painting's medium, still relying on the main topic of the hidden places in the heart of human and nature.  We appreciate the intelligence of the titles, that always help us to go deeper  in our thoughts facing his pieces : they always imply philosophical questions, with no direct answers, so that those titles stay in our mind, accompagnied by the plastic answer of the artist.

Born in 65 in Bristol, part of the generation of the Young British artists of the 90’s, Hirst likes scandals, and completely understood the Art Market and its new tendencies. That might be why he is now exhibiting in Ukraine, at the private Art museum of Mr. Pinchuk, one of the most significant collectors of the former USSR. We shall indeed remember the number of potential collectors there is in this region, who might not be totally crushed by the crisis - like in Britain or in the U.S - and therefore might be quite interested by this new exhibition...

As Victor Pinchuk says, Hirst and him have come common interests: “This exhibition is of great significance but what is most important for me is that the opportunity to see Hirst’s new body of work occurs first in Kyiv. Damien’s exhibition in Kyiv symbolises the reciprocal and mutually beneficial relationship between contemporary Ukrainian culture and that of the rest of the world. They share a common ground.”

The Pinchuk foundation is one of the largest centers for contemporary art in Eastern Europe; its first aim is to promote the international development of Ukrainian artists. Moreover, Victor Pinchuk, his founder, created through this foundation other structures which give a significant help to modernize the country, such as an healthcare program focusing on neonatal centers, educational initiatives, a school of economics,

Eckhard Schneider, General Manager of the PinchukArtCentre: “With this fundamental retrospective including a cycle of new paintings the PinchukArtCentre gives an important international contribution to the debate surrounding one of the leading artists of our time.” Indeed, over a hundred works are here presented until September 20th, so if you plan to got in Eastern Europe anytime soon, don’t miss the occasion to see one of the most controversial artists of our time.

[Visuals : Above : Damien Hirst, For the Love of God, 2007, courtesy of the artist. Below : Damien Hirst, The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, 1991, courtesy of the artist.]

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