In his over 30-year career, the pre-eminent British contemporary artist Damien Hirst has explored a variety of themes including art, religion, science, and life and death, employing a wide range of media, such as painting, sculpture, and installation.
In his latest series of paintings, Cherry Blossoms, Hirst offers his own unique interpretation of Western painting from Post-Impressionism to Action painting, creating a group of brilliantly colored, dynamic landscapes. For Hirst, an artist who has continued to make abstract paintings since the late ’80s, the series is also a great achievement in terms of his use of color and pictorial space. The landscapes, the largest of which were executed on huge canvases with a height of over five meters and a length of seven meters, transport us into a fantastical world as we stand beneath the row of cherry trees in fleeting and vibrant bloom.
In 2021, Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain presented this series for the first time internationally, and received great acclaim. It is interesting to note that the exhibition, Hirst’s first major solo show in Japan, will be held at the National Art Center, Tokyo, as the institution is surrounded by cherry trees, which attract a host of visitors every spring when the trees are in bloom. Hirst has specially selected 24 large-scale paintings from the series of 107 canvases for one of the Center’s galleries, and the exhibition is highly anticipated as a means of providing visitors with an opportunity to appreciate these pictorial expressions, and offering them a respite from the conditions of the coronavirus pandemic.
|Date||March 2(Wed.)-May 23(Mon.), 2022
Closed on Tuesdays（except for May 3）
* 10:00-20:00 on Fridays and Saturdays（Last admission 30 minutes before closing）
|Venue||The National Art Center, Tokyo ／ Special Exhibition Gallery 2E
7-22-2 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-8558
|Organized by||The National Art Center, Tokyo;
Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain
|Co-organized by||Nikkei Inc.|
Born in Bristol（UK） in 1965, Damien Hirst grew up in Leeds before moving to London in 1984, where he still lives today. In 1988, while studying at Goldsmiths College, he organized the exhibition Freeze, presenting his works alongside those of other students. The exhibition launched his career, as well as that of numerous other emerging artists and marked the genesis of the Young British Artists.
In 1995, he was awarded the Turner Prize. Working across sculpture, installation, painting and drawing, Damien Hirst explores themes connected to life and death, excess and fragility. An internationally renowned artist, his work has been exhibited at the Tate Modern in London as part of a large retrospective （Damien Hirst, 2012）, at the Palazzo Grassi and Punta della Dogana in Venice （Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable, 2017）, at Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain in Paris（Damien Hirst, Cherry Blossoms, 2021）. His works have been previously shown in Japan, including at two exhibitions hosted by the Mori Art Museum, History in the Making:A Retrospective of the Turner Prize （2008） and Medicine and Art: Imagining a Future for Life and Love（2009）.
“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.”