Black Scalpel Cityscapes by Damien Hirst
Damien Hirst new paintings, Black Scalpel Cityscapes, are displayed at the White Cube São Paolo. The paintings are made up of surgical instruments combined to create bird’s-eye views of urbanized areas from around the world.
Through his ‘Black Scalpel Cityscapes’ Hirst investigates the realities of modern life like surveillance, urbanization, globalization and the virtual nature of conflicts.
The Black Scalpel Cityscapes make reference to the military procedure of ‘surgical bombing’ or ‘surgical strikes’, commonly used in modern warfare, which aims to limit collateral damage by targeting precise areas for destruction. The suggestion of a remote, digital conflict inevitably reduces the tragic and devastating realities of war. In a similarly misleading manner, the perspective of an aerial map minimises the life beneath it to a series of detached systems and patterns of collective existence.
The paintings represents 17 cities that are either sites of recent conflict, cities relating to the artist’s own life, or centers of economic, political or religious significance. The selection includes Washington, DC; Rome and the Vatican City; Leeds (where the artist grew up); Beijing; Moscow; New York; London; Paris; and Baghdad.
These portraits of living cities depict the man-made features and natural elements like buildings, rivers and roads in scalpels as well as razor blades, hooks, iron filings and safety-pins, all set against black backgrounds. The result is very graphic, eye-catching with a touch of poignancy.
Damien Hirst was born in 1965 in Bristol, UK. He lives and works in London and Gloucestershire. Solo exhibitions include ‘Relics’, Al Riwaq: Museum of Islamic Art, Doha (2013); ‘Artists Rooms’, New Art Gallery, Walsall (2012); ‘Cornucopia’, The Oceanographic Museum of Monaco (2010); ‘No Love Lost’, The Wallace Collection, London (2009); ‘Requiem’, Pinchuk Art Centre, Kiev (2009); ‘For the Love of God’, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam (2008); Astrup Fearnley Museet fur Moderne Kunst, Oslo (2005); Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (2005); and ‘The Agony and the Ecstasy’, Archaeological Museum, Naples (2004). An exhibition of the artist’s private collection, ‘Murderme’, was held at Serpentine Gallery, London in 2006 and in the Pinacoteca Agnelli in Turin, 2012. In 2012, Tate Modern, London held a major retrospective of Hirst’s work to coincide with the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. He received the DAAD fellowship in Berlin in 1994 and won the Turner Prize in 1995.
Photos courtesy of White Cube gallery site / © Damien Hirst