Cherry Blossoms is Damien Hirst’s first museum exhibition in France and The Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain is proud to unveil Damien Hirst’s remarkable new series of paintings.
The Cherry Blossoms series reinterprets, with playful irony, the traditional subject of landscape painting. Hirst combines thick brushstrokes and elements of gestural painting, referencing both Impressionism and Pointillism, as well as Action Painting. The monumental canvases, which are entirely covered in dense bright colors, envelop the viewer in a vast floral landscape moving between figuration and abstraction.
“I’ve had a romance with painting all my life, even if I avoided it. As a young artist, you react to the context, your situation. In the 1980s, painting wasn’t really the way to go.” says Damien Hirst.
After studying in Leeds, Damien Hirst entered Goldsmiths College in London in 1986 and quickly became the face of the Young British Artists, a group with a taste for experimentation and creating art viewed as provocative by some. They dominated the British arts scene in the 1990s. In 1995, he was awarded the Turner Prize.
The Cherry Blossoms are at once a subversion and homage to the great artistic movements of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. They are integral to the pictorial exploration long carried out by Hirst. In his London studio, the artist describes “diving into the paintings and completely blitzing them from one end to the other”. He was working on several canvases at the same time and constantly returning to these, which he kept close by, months after their completion. After devoting three full years to the series, Damien Hirst niched the Cherry Blossoms series in November 2020
“The Cherry Blossoms are about beauty and life and death. They’re extreme—there’s something almost tacky about them. Like Jackson Pollock twisted by love. They’re decorative but taken from nature. They’re about desire and how we process the things around us and what we turn them into, but also about the insane visual transience of beauty—a tree in full crazy blossom against a clear sky. It’s been so good to make them, to be completely lost in color and in paint in my studio. They’re garish and messy and fragile and about me moving away from Minimalism and the idea of an imaginary mechanical painter and that’s so exciting for me.”
The exhibition will be shown at The Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain June 1st 2021 to January 2nd 2022.