Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Damien Hirst @ Tate Modern

Between now and September the Tate Modern is playing host to a Damien Hirst exhibition showcasing some of his more memorable works from the last 20 years.

The animals in formaldehyde are cool, the sliced cow and calf having more impact than the more famous sharks.

The painted dot pieces are also quite cool, and I understand their impact now, something that I didn't get before. The larger pieces are too large to take in and I was more taken with some of the medium pieces. I could happily look at them trying to look for a pattern, that I know isn't there. Stare hard enough and a sailbarge appears.

My favourite piece however is the living piece featuring thousands of flies hatching from a box and feasting on a cow head before hitting an electrocuter. It's a metaphor for life and death, a theme that runs through a lot of Damien's work.

One tip I would give is to do the rooms in order. There's a queue for the butterfly room, which won't have the same impact if you return to it as we did. (spoiler - there are better butterfly pieces in later rooms)

 All in all, it's a wonderful exhibition, do allow yourself a good 2 hours to take it all in.

 Between now and June the diamond skull piece has a separate display and queue, in the main turbine hall. This is an utterly captivating piece containing 15million pounds worth of diamonds adorning a platinum skull. A brief warning, this exhibit will bring out the magpie in any female company that you are with.

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