Damien Hirst at Tate Modern | Tate

My name Ann Gallagher and I am curator of this Damien Hirst exhibition at Tate. We are about four weeks into the
installation. It is really complicated installation so there is a lot of work to be done And we’ve got about a week or so to go but we’re gonna walk round
just talk about the pieces that are up and explain the chronology of the
way that the show runs through. I was saying that in here there are lots of things that I am embarrassed about. There are things I probably didn’t want to put in but then… – But they are important to show what follows. – You and Nick talked me into it really. – Yeah – I completely hated them when I made them but then I think looking back they do make sense to the spot
paintings. I never really made that connection before. It was like the
same colours in pans are in the butterfly paintings ‘In and Out of Love’
or, you know, what it does bright happy colours, continually. And then with ‘Dead Head’, which is you when you are 16. – Wow we have got a lot in this room haven’t we?
– I know. -I forgot about that yeah. Yeah. I was photographing the mortuary. Not in the mortuary, it was in the…
-The Anatomy school. – Anatomy school, yeah. So it wasn’t really an artwork it was just a photograph but then I made it into an artwork when I started getting a bit of reputation for being the ‘death guy’. – It seems smaller to me now.
– Really? – Mm it is weird. – Yeah, nasty piece
– Yeah – It was just a desire to make out that it was more real and about something important. I kept thinking I love minimal art but I
kept thinking is not about anything and it sort of kept frustrating me. So in a way the cabinets work like a box to protect things so I took that bit further and just thought I am going to own this space or something. In a way you wanted to pull people in but then keep them out the same time. I always just thought you should never let lack of money get in the way of an idea or something like that. Then obviously when I was a kid I had seen jaws. I thought why can’t we do a big shark? I just immediately thought it’s got to be big enough to eat you and
then in the volume of liquid that would be big enough to frighten you. Because the fear of it- I
remember walking through a Richard Serra at the Saatchi gallery and just thinking
halfway through: ‘God this could fall on me and kill me’ and so I am being physically frightened of a sculpture. The fear of this shark is an unreasonable fear but it’s a good way to kind of tap into that fear
of death which is probably a reasonable fear. And large volumes of water are quite
frightening anyway in their own right. – And what did you think when you finally
saw and it? Was the effect that you wanted to achieve? – Yeah it was like ‘duh duh duh duhduhduh’. It was like the Jaws music. – “The Acquired Inability to
Escape” was that the first work that you made using cigarettes? – Yes I think it probably was.
– And then afterwards came the rows of stubbed out.. – Yes I got asked in an interview recently where they said to me: “You said in an interview that you don’t smoke anymore.” They said: “You once said you don’t trust people who don’t smoke.” – Did you say that?
– Yes I did in an interview yes. And they said: “And what do you say now?” I said I don’t trust people who do. – Do you still smoke?
– Yes – Yeh… I love you really. -“In and Out of Love”. – If you can see people as flies you can see them as butterflies as well so I thought I have got to go the other way like I was saying, where you say well butterflies are beautiful as well but then it’s not that beautiful if look closely because it’s not beautiful for the insect. It is getting trapped in the paint.
– There is that horror that they are actually preserved in paint…
– I remember when I painted the edges of them in there trying to make it look like they had struggled and flapped about and just got stuck. – And then the live room, the live butterflies. When I first saw that thinking: “What is he doing creating this environment with
butterflies flying around and actually hatching out of canvases?” – I still don’t know what I was doing. Originally I bred butterflies in my bedroom at the time so I was hatching them all
out and tried to learn all about it. I think when we started redoing it I was a bit worried because I thought maybe you kind of romanticise things from the past. I haven’t seen it for so long I
thought maybe it was just like walking around stepping on butterflies and it
was all an illusion it never really worked and didn’t look good but it’s great to see back together with the butterflies flying around and happy. It is so nice to go in there but then so nice
to get out. Oh they look great. – Fantastic With the ‘Pharmacy’ installation I wanted to get a pharmacy and put it into an art gallery but you actually think you are in a pharmacy. Then just to not even confuse you, it just makes you question everything. I originally showed it that when people came into the gallery they kind of came in
and then thought they were pharmacy so they got back in the
elevator and everybody got stuck in the elevators and kept coming in and saying: ‘Where is the art?’ – Because it was a gallery on…
– Yeh but I love art that does that. I love art that kind of confused you or made you not sure. You didn’t know where the art was, but in a humorous way rather than a kind of
heavy way you know. It is amazing because the paint is household paint but I think that are really good now.
– They look really fresh. – I used to be depressed when they stopped they are great fun making them. Then when it stops they look great and then you love it for a few weeks and then you just want to make another one. – So if you have got the motion into it- – Yes I remember thinking about that motion as well and thinking it is the motion of the planets, it is the motion of the atoms in our
bodies. It has got circular motions and everything. – And we are going to show them in this room with “Living in a World of Desire”. – “Loving in a World of Desire”
– “Loving in a World of Desire” – Although “Living in a World of Desire” is a good title as well. – I could have done two
– You could do – “Living in a World of Desire” It is getting quite crowded this room but it is fun – Yes and a completely different pace
– Kids will love it in here – And then we go back into the main room. When I first did the first spot paintings I did it as an endless series. And then I thought I should name them after drugs and I got book on drugs. I thought I’d name every drug under the sun, every drug
known to man for every painting. So it became this endless infinite series and I love
that idea conceptually. I actually thought I’ll start this series but I’ll stop somewhere but then I just keep coming up with other ideas. This is a
huge one and it looks totally different to the one with four spots so
actually the difference in the paintings was so great I just kept making them and they coming up with another idea and then making another. “Mother and Child (Divided)” that was the first piece where you cut the animals in half so you see the internal organs as well as the hide or the skin. – I love that inside-outside where you get to see the inside and the outside so it’s whole but you know it’s dead.
– And were you consciously alluding to Christianity when you talked about the titles being my “Mother and Child”? – Christianity I don’t know about it
– Subconsciously? – Well I was brought up Catholic until I was twelve so all that stuff goes in but it’s quite difficult I think to- I wasn’t directly but I love stories from anywhere. I wanted to play with the viewer so if somebody says to me: “Is that religious?” I will say: “Well what do you think?’ – Yeah – Belief is a great thing to play with.
– You suggest a range of belief systems like science – Yeah. I did this series of prints called “New Religion”, which were
very scientific and I think science is a new religion really.
-Yes After I had done “Pharmacy” I was hijacking everything from all walks of the scientific world. – So you moved from that white coated wooden cabinet that you used in the “Medicine Cabinets” and then “Pharmacy’ into these more really polished stainless steel. Clinical looking. – Clinical but they have that fear again, the same kind of fear you get from the shark you get from these. We are all afraid of surgical instruments. – But why do you feel kind of comforted by medicine and yet surgery makes us
terrified but they’re both supposed to help cure you? – I suppose it is kind of an invasive
procedure isn’t it? – I found an old Victorian teatray which had on the base of it, on the glass somebody in Victorian times had put butterflies on
it and it just looked great. And I thought if you did those big they are like kaleidoscopes and kaleidoscopes are amazing anyway. And then they started looking like stained glass windows. I did this one which is like the first one called “Doorways to the Kingdom of Heaven” where I did them actually like stained glass windows. I remember reading an article and they were saying that flagellation is one of the doorways
the kingdom of heaven. Or prayer is another one. – The flies are buzzing around in “A Thousand Years”. H ere you harness them and they adhere to the canvas. It is like a tradition of the monochrome, a black painting. – From a distance you just think it is a black monochrome. It looks like tar or paint and then really it is not until you get to about here that you realise it flies. When you are that close and you realise it is flies it is pretty scary because you just
think there is a lot of death. – And then we’re going to walk into the room that’s bringing together the work that was made at the time of the Sotheby’s auction. So you created this wallpaper specifically for this room but it’s based on the catalogue. – Yes I made this wallpaper from the inside of the catalogue – And “The Kingdom” was one of the two
pieces and itself had a special little booklet for itself.
– Exactly yes – Key pieces from the sale and it’s another shark something you made very early on and then 2008 you returned to it. And everything in this sale in the way is a kind of return.
– I wanted everything in this sale to be 2008 and just have this big huge- it was kind of like an event really wasn’t it? So this room, the final room which has got “The Incomplete Truth” in it. It is very religious. I think I’ve become a religious artist have I?
Although I deny it all the time. – But when you use this title “The Incomplete Truth” what were you suggesting? – I have always loved those statements. Never let the truth get in the way of a good story And I think when you attach that to religion it shows a lot of resonance. – The symbol of the dove is like it’s both a secular symbol of peace – When you look at it looks like a dove flying in the sky but it is actually a dove trapped in liquids so it is like it has hope but it doesn’t have hope but art can give us hope I think but religion can’t.
– But you like all these works that say one thing and then deny it
at same time. – Absolutely, I don’t think there are answers I think there are only questions and I think it is for viewers to decide what the answers are.


  1. I really cannot believe the amount of bullshit that comes from his mouth. I'm wondering if he actually knows what he's doing

  2. I get why you all think it's bollocks. But damiens pieces are unpredictable, scary, original and have a lot of work put into them. I have a lot of respect for him because of that.

  3. I fuckin' despise them 'spin paintings' he did. But all in all he seems like a nice bloke, just a little dim.

  4. I don't think that Damien is a complete conman. He has some fabulous pieces. In my opinion, I don't necessarily think of his work as "art" but more as stories. He wants people to question why something is there, in a gallery. It makes you question what art is and makes you really think. That is the point. The reason why things like Mother and Child, Divided isn't in a scientific museum is because when you look at the inside of a cow, you think about how it works and the scientific aspects of it. When it is an art museum, you think of the beauty and the aesthetics. When something is dead, you think about is morally. Was the death justifiable? What was the cause and the price? What does it mean? Suddenly, you aren't just thinking about the stomach and what it does. It isn't just cool. It causes an internal war, is this art? Is Damien a conman? Does he just care about the money? Is this just bullshit or does it have a meaning behind it? Every piece is a story or a lesson and I think that that is what justifies Damien as an artist. Even the pieces that he did where he didn't really know what he was doing and he just did it, even after a piece is finished, you can look at something and come up with a story for it. Like the spot paintings. They look a bit psychedelic with all the colors. It makes me wonder if there was a method to the madness. He is creating something and that is the first step to art. Even bad art is still art.

  5. Damien Hirst is brilliant – his work provokes your perspective on the human condition and also instills a fascination with nature and our relationship with nature. Well, that's my opinion anyhow.

  6. People can dislike his work or whatever, but what the fuck makes them so angry and hateful? If the richest people weren't into that shit so much, nobody would be so stirred. It's the market that dictates the price, and the demand is there for real. Sure, the buyer and those artists as well as the work usually have a lot of something weird or off-putting about them. But get over it. There are a lot of things in the modern world and culture that are overpriced, overrated or just shitty and deserve outrage more than this.


  8. Why is everyone so mad? You don't need to go to his shows, you don't need to give him your time.

    I like his work. Sure he's overpaid but he's not hurting anyone. If you think his thoughts are drivel just move on. The work was not made to please you

  9. i believe art must resonate even among stupid people
    and damien's art has perfected that
    it forces stupid people to make up excuses to like his art and how it gave them " a new perspective " on things

  10. I do hope you don’t mind me posting this here. It’s in a very good cause and will help 500,000 people
    Pensioners are dying in poverty oversea, because the British Government has abandoned its moral responsibility, discriminates and refuses pay all its pensioners – YES it’s true. We need protests in London outside 10 Downing Street and Parliament. We need hunger strikes, we need activist who live in the UK and are willing to help 500,000 of their fellow countrymen living in a poverty trap. Those in their 90’s are getting about 40 Pounds a week to pay, rent, electric, food, transport, medical bills. Yes, everything. That’s the total amount they receive if they’re 90 years old.

    And now the pounds dropped about 20%. I’ve written to the Prime Minister, and the Queen and the head of the Fraud Squad at Scotland Yard. Guess what. They don’t want to know. The TV companies and the newspapers don’t want to know. The Labour and Conservatives don’t want to know. None of them want to talk about it, because they know they can’t defend this huge crime against their own citizen. And yet they’re paying 13 Billion out every year to foreign countries – This is total MADNESS ! I say look after your own citizens FIRST !


    Please have a quick look at this huge Ponzi Scheme run for about the last 50 years by all UK Governments, both Labour and Conservative, and then help the 500,000 of us being robbed every month
    We demand IMMEDIATE payment of ALL the money stolen from us, plus interest, plus damages for the pain and suffering and also parity with the old age pensioners living in the UK, The USA, The Philippines, and Guam etc. Why pay them and NOT us . We are all from the UK We all paid the same contributions ! So why pay some of us and rob most of us ? It’s NOT fair or logical. It’s indefensible ! When people are living in poverty and others are index linked

    We need publicity and more importantly some action that will then lead to every one of the 500,000 UK Expat Pensioners living all over the world to be paid the same amount of pension that the UK pensioners living in the UK, the USA, the Philippines, The E.U. and Guam are paid. Pensioners are all still being robbed of about 80,000,000 pounds each and every month.
    If you retire to Canada or Australia or New Zealand the UK Old Age Pension will NEVER be index linked, along with dozens of other countries their pensions are frozen forever. It will never rise one penny, not even if you live to be 100 years old (Full list of “Frozen Countries on my website)

    But, if you retire to certain other countries i.e. USA, The Philippines, Guam and so forth then the UK old age pensions are automatically index linked and rise automatically every single year without fail
    This is unfair discrimination. This is a national disgrace. It’s indefensible.

    See FULL DETAILs on my website – Click the link just below here

    To see a simple YouTube video that explains this FRAUD, THIS PONZI SCHEME – Click the link below here

    To see a short YouTube video of a SNP MP drawing attention to this theft in Parliament 20th April 2017 – Click the link below here. (You’ll be able to see that there are about a total of ten MP’s in the chamber, which give you a very good idea of how much most MP’s care about British Old Age Pensioners, even when they know these old people are being systematically robbed every month for years.) I think we’ll have to start a hunger strike to get their support


    Winston Churchill said it so well :-We will fight on the beaches …. We shall NEVER SURENDER!! – Click link below here to hear his famous speech


    I’m 72 years old and since I’ve retired at 65 I’ve personally been robbed systematically every month. It’s a total of about 3,000 Pounds already and my pension will never rise one penny even up to the day I die.
    Please see on the spreadsheet, where I highlight my age and you’ll get to see actual money each of us is being robbed of as the years go by.

    As one gets older each year the amount of money stolen rises astronomically to over 100,000 Pounds per person !
    And that’s from just one person. It’s time to put a stop to this and hold them responsible for this huge fraudulent Ponzi scheme run by the UK government

    Those in their 90’s are living on 40 pounds a week. Many of them must be sick, alone and living in poverty.
    Every MP gets paid 76,000 Pounds plus expenses every year. My pension is 6,240 Pounds a year. Those in their 90’s are now receiving 2,000 Pounds every year. MP’s receive 6,263 a MONTH !

    Yes you read that correctly 2,000 Pounds a year to a 90 year old person to cover rent, food, electricity, water, transport, medicine, everything.

    Just what sort of people are running the UK ? They must be psychopaths to carry on with this fraudulent Ponzi scheme year after year.

    And up to now, not very many people know about it or have done anything about it. So, if you can help and investigate and or publicize it in any way please do.

    I’d be most grateful if you’d contact your local MP and tell him about this HUGE problem and ask him what he intends to do about it. You can also share this on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Contact the TV companies and Newspapers. I’ve done this myself already and have not even been dignified with a single reply

    Pensioners are dying in poverty, discarded like rubbish and nobody seems to give a damn
    Kind regards – Chris Newton – Writer, Artist & Hypnotist – WWW.100Temptations.com

  11. This guy's loaded in every sense of the word. What irritates me is all the gobbledygook illogical twaddle that artist come out with. They've got some ideas, about "art" and suddenly they're philosophers. The stuff you see here on this video, most of it is not the likes of Michelangelo, or Leonardo Da Vinci or Norman Rockwell would call art. And I'm with them.

    They all had the skill of a craftsman, and they could produce a good composition, that captured the moment, that special split second which captures our interest.

    Have a look at "Going and coming" by Norman Rockwell, or his kids playing golf, or the runaway, sat next to the policeman. You can tell INSTANTLY what is happening. That's what I call art. And because they've captured that particular moment it causes you the viewer to react. There's no hidden message, there's no I wonder what he's trying to say. It's there in front of you and you can understand it.

    Now, my next problem with this person, is he does not produce all the work himself. Naaah. Do you really think he caught all those flies and put them on a circular board and inch or two thick. ?

    The same with the dead cow and calf. Do you think he killed the calf and the cow and put them into the glass case ? Do you ?

    Did he catch the big shark with a fishing line. Did he land the shark and prepare it, so it could go into the glass case ?

    The spot paintings, the pharmacy cabinets full of surgical implements. He bought the stuff. He paid people to do the boring and tricky and skillful stuff.

    How much did he pay the men who actually did the dirty work for him ? Peanuts. Are they on commission if he ever sells any of his masterpieces ? Naaah

    Quite frankly as an artist myself I'd be embarrassed to admit that I had a hand in any of his stuff. I'd be frightened of the public thinking of me as a nutcase and a total fraud. This guy's from Leeds in the North of England and I suspect from a working class background. I would think that most of the generation in Leeds that he grew up with would NOT be impressed and their opinion would be unrepeatable in polite circles to put it mildly

    I somehow doubt, I may be wrong, but I suspect he's NEVER had a brush in his hand for a very long time.

    Would you trust him to paint your garden fence ? Would he be sticking dead flies on it after he'd painted it. You'd probably find a dead dog, or maybe a cat stuck on the fence. Just to give it that extra "something" Maybe cut the dead dog's head off and do a lap of honour with it. The words "stick" and "rectum" spring to mind. Can't think why, can you ?

    Kind regards to you all – Chris – Artist, Writer & Hypnotist WWW.100Temptations.com By the way, my works a lot cheaper.

  12. I went to this exhibition and found it transformational. I went in cynical, and came out happy and hopeful for the future. There were dozens of children there, running around excited, interested and thoroughly engaged with the artworks. They understood everything without inhibition. Damien Hirst’s work is indeed challenging; it is sublimely beautiful in some cases, scary in others, always thought provoking. He has changed the art world irrevocably and he has changed the world. Like his work or loathe it, the choice is yours, but to call him a bullshitter and a conman is to miss the point entirely.

  13. Your work belongs in the Taint museum. He thinks he is so brilliant! Your work is straight GARBAGE! He has convinced some fucking idiots that he is special too.

  14. The Americans voted for Trump and his "wall" whilst the Brits voted for Theresa May and Brexit. The Americans highest paid artist is Jeff Koons whilst the British highest paid artist is Damien Hirst. Just saying.

  15. Modern art by Damian.. taking past works done by actual masters and adding a little jazz and making the works his own.

  16. Hirst is a genius because his work INSPIRES controversy over what art IS – like everyone is doing in the comments. Well done, lad!

  17. Room 11 looks like it would have taken way more effort to put together than most of the other rooms combined. And also killing scores of butterflies.

  18. “Whoever wishes to devote himself to art should begin by cutting out his own tongue.”
    ― Henri Matisse

  19. I think its so interesting how he says he's an atheist but lends so much spirituality and religous context to his work.

  20. Love it, Hate it.
    D.H. spoiled celebrity/artist. When art is just a commodity, what is an artist? I am curious to see his stuff — he's famous (we say to ourselves), so it must be good.
    I guess he is like a producer/director, but not. Maybe an artist lol. He has an idea, and he makes it happen. He may or may not have great skills and sensitivities to light, color, form, line, material… and he may or may not do all of the physical construction.

    You can see the "dead head" photo as a key.

  21. Think what its really about is the people who buy …the art….tell me why do they buy it..? Another thought if all of his art vanished tomorrow …I dont think the world bat an eyelid, ….of course the people who bought it would …for a bit.

  22. even if you dont like the spot paintings just think how much time is in creating the continuity between the spots hundreds and thousands of them to me it represents the endless chasing of the dragon his "art" is more a platform for stories and thought pieces more so than a literal interpretation sort of like francis bacon I'm not inspired by his "art" but more so in his way of not having something you can engross in and walk out of for example you can go see an edvard munchs work anyday and walk out and that painting is stuck in the frame and you only looked in for a brief few minutes but with his pieces it gives you the visual shock and awe but taps into something deeper and gives you something you can leave with it marks you and it defiles you and makes you think he is a visual story teller and the psychological punk middle finger to the art world he creates on top of pre existing ideas instead of painting a canvas white and saying theres something there he reverses it and this is why I like his pieces ! 😀 everyone have a nice day feel free too comment 😀

  23. he is absolutely a fake artist whose work will be devalued in time, it has indeed already begun to do so. He is always copying other artist work. the points paintings and son on.

  24. If we could get artists to donate art to homeless charity buy a old building just make donations to view them we could fund a homeless hostile for ever I've been a helping a homeless charity for three years more rough sleepers every week peopleinneed sw l think this would work never sell just show who knows I'm pissed right now

  25. If anyone else not famous made the same thing nobody would even care. Its not what you do its who you are that is only important for 99.9999% of people.

  26. I love how she suggests that he meant something deep and profound in his work and he's just like "aah I thought it'd be funny!"

  27. Please remove the pointless ambient music and the irritating squeaking door and let us appreciate the pure unprocessed boredom of this wank fest.

  28. artists who are out just to shock for fame aren't artists, sachi bought his work and exhibited it on top galleries and that's the only reason he got famous…then he can create anything he likes and people will think its art…..one big con.

  29. These comments are amazing.Theres not one lazy one.Please read them all and skip the video .

  30. Damien Hirst gives the impression that he hasn't got a clue what he's doing… and is just having a laugh or in some cases deliberately taking the piss. When you look at his pieces it definately does make you question 'what is art…'
    The curator is willing him to say something intelligent and meaningful about his works but is seemingly let down.

  31. Simple….Art Has No Rules In any shape way or form or Price / Meet me yet?

  32. 1:19 what is this 😲I dont want to be with this man alone in a room 😳 I think he is 🔺33👁☠️😈🌭🍕👌🤘👻🤣🤣

  33. How can the British public put up with such a sadistic person who calls himself an artist but is actually exploiting the animals that share the planet with us Morrissey had it right let's put his head in a plastic bag and carry it around that would be the ultimate statement wouldn't it Damien everyone would love to kick it you're not an artist you're a businessman. Go back to your Cave and stay there no one wants you. Here's an example of latest newspaper your earnings and your wealth are dropping dramatically I wonder if this has something to do with your disgusting artwork I can't believe the British people let this evil person live in their country he should be in prison for the Crimes he does

  34. Its all so dull; doesn't make you think at all other than obviousness loose associations like a word game. I don't want to hear his dull, grey voice repeating what he did; we can see that ourselves. The so called meanings are so shallow and flippantly thrown out as if depicting say a medicine cabinet means you are saying something deep and thoughtful about death or life. Let's stop pretending any of this stuff has any value added by its meaning. It just is what it is; someone choosing some objects they think we have never thought to look at before without his insightful artists eye. Thanks but I've been to Boots the Chemists before and a butterfly farm and these wan attempts to lift these experiences and pretend that you have created a magical artists prism through which we are now seeing them falls completely flat for me. I want art that is much cleverer if it's purpose is to be meaningful. For it to have multiple layers to pull back and examine not a simplistic link like a pun; it's made from dead things therefore it is about or explores death. If that's true then that was it, all your meaning in one trite sentence, done dusted and forgotten.

  35. Always thought that Hirst was SHIT, but now I see im wrong and I apologize, shit has its uses, you can compost it for agriculture, Hirst crap on the other side, if it has a use, is to illustrate how fucked up the powerful and the rich really are, and WHY we need a revolution NOW.

  36. I'll bet he killed Rosie or had her killed. I don't buy what everyone's selling. The way he acknowledges our "irrational" fear of sharks sounds sadistic. Surrounding yourself, with not only death, but the process of it while it's still happening from choice, says a lot about a person.

  37. Oh dear? Anyone can set up a pile of junk and call it art as long as you have a story that galleries know the rich will listen too and buy …….BUT it still junk ? sad to see such a well known gallery displaying this? when there are so many stunning pieces of art yet to be seen……so sad?

  38. I don’t feel anything from this. But when you look at works of a master painter like turner or constable it gives you a sense of wonderment and magic !. each to there own I suppose

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