Damien Hirst

Damien Hirst (born in 1965) is one of the most famous and one of the most controversial contemporary British artists. Known as the leading member of the so-called Young British Artists (YBAs), Hirst is also known for his close relationship with the owner of the Saatchi Gallery, Charles Saatchi who played an important role in Hirst’s national and international fame. Nevertheless, conflicts arose between the artist and one of his greatest admirers and sponsors, and in 2003 the cooperation between the two came to an end.

A Short Biography

Hirst grew up in Leeds. When he was 12, his father left and he was raised by his mother who encouraged his artistic pursuits because art was the only thing he was good at school. However, he wasn’t immediately accepted to the Jacob Kramer school of art and had to apply twice to be accepted to the Goldsmiths, University of London. Despite the initial setbacks, he soon attracted the attention of the previously mentioned Saatchi.

In 1990, Hirst displayed his first animal installation titled “A Thousand Years” with a rotten cow’s head featuring flies and maggots. Saatchi who visited the show at the former factory of Peek Freans was impressed and offered him a sponsorship. In 1992, Hirst displayed at the Saatchi Gallery what became one of his most famous artworks – a shark in formaldehyde titled “The Physical Impossibility of Death and the Mind of Someone Living”. With it, he attracted the attention of the entire British art scene and in the same year, earned a nomination for the Turner Prize. But he won it only in 1995. Ever since, anything related to Hirst attracts a lot of publicity although not always in a positive sense because some of his artworks, especially those involving dead animals have also been a matter of controversy.

Selected Works