EXHIBITION // DAMIEN HIRST - FORGIVING AND FORGETTING // GAGOSIAN GALLERY // NEW YORK

EXHIBITION // DAMIEN HIRST - FORGIVING AND FORGETTING // GAGOSIAN GALLERY // NEW YORK

Damien Hirts : Forgiving and Forgetting

Gagosian Gallery
541 West 24th Street
New York

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https://gagosian.com

Gagosian is pleased to present Forgiving and Forgetting, an exhibition of sculptures and new paintings by Damien Hirst that have never before been shown in the United States. The presentation also marks the artist’s first exhibition in New York since the 2018 solo show Colour Space Paintings.

Forgiving and Forgetting includes works from Hirst’s Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable, a project that presents sculptural relics from a fictional shipwreck off the coast of East Africa, playing fast and loose with linear time, cultural origin, and perceptions of relative status and value. Foregrounding these sculptures against an intricately woven tale of seafaring exploits, marine excavation, and laborious research, Hirst aims to invoke feelings of wonder at their meticulous physical and conceptual fabrication.

The series debuted in 2017 with a suite of Treasures—ranging from pastiches of ancient and classical busts, masks, and statues to representations of iconic Disney cartoon characters—rendered in an extraordinary array of materials, many encrusted with colorful blooms of skillfully painted barnacles, as if salvaged from the ocean floor. Forgiving and Forgetting marks an ambitious phase in Hirst’s body of work; the sculptures are carved out of pink Portuguese marble and white Carrara marble, immortalizing each figure in one of the most storied materials in Western art history.

From the playful wave of a coral-laden Minnie Mouse to the intricately encrusted visage of a jauntily posed Goofy, each subject in its monochrome marble assumes the same gravitas, sparking unexpected interactions between ancient materials and modern forms. As in much of the artist’s practice, Hirst’s Treasures exemplify the idea of mythmaking that lies at the core of culture, both high and low.

Forgiving and Forgetting also reveals works from Hirst’s latest series, the Reverence Paintings. Originally seeking to reimagine the vibrant Cherry Blossoms in allover white, the artist began to overlay shifting dabs of color and flecks of gold leaf across the otherwise monochrome canvases, allowing them to take on a vivid and shimmering dynamism. Covered with bright impasto dots that add both perspectival grounding and visual haze to each composition, the Reverence Paintings underscore Hirst’s acute sense of color, expanding upon the expressionistic and pointillist impulses that have inspired his recent bodies of work.