Hirst Challenge to Christian Critics; ARTIST DEVOTES HIS MOST CONTROVERSIAL WORKS YET TO A RELIGIOUS THEME

The Evening Standard (London, England), September 8, 2003 | Go to article overview

Hirst Challenge to Christian Critics; ARTIST DEVOTES HIS MOST CONTROVERSIAL WORKS YET TO A RELIGIOUS THEME


Byline: LUKE LEITCH

DAMIEN HIRST today unveiled a typically shocking show in which he mutilates dead cows in even more grotesque ways than before. It is the first exhibition by Hirst - the perennial bad boy of Brit-art - in this country for eight years. In it, he slices and dices a small herd of animals to create a bizarre new series of religious works.

The first work visitors will see as they enter the White Cube Gallery is called The Prodigal Son - a calf cut in half, each section pickled in one of the artist's trademark tanks.

This piece, made some years ago, is tasteful compared with others. Take the Apostles, a series of 13 works in which the 12 disciples and Jesus are each represented by bizarre cabinets filled with objects ranging from scientific apparatus to a monkey's sawn-in-half skull. Other saintly relics include a mass of bloodied plastic tubes that look like intestines, rosaries, crosses, an earshaped-ashtray and clumps of hair.

Hirst's final flourish is the pickled cows' heads, each skinned and cut up to varying degrees, which stand in front of each disciple's cabinet.

The mutilation becomes more extreme for a piece called Matthew, Mark, Luke And John. Again, Hirst uses pickled cows' heads but as well as being skinned the skulls have been stabbed and embedded with shards of glass, knives and skewers. …

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