What I saw..That whale guy: Damien Hirst at Tate Modern

23 Apr

by Marjan Schrooten//

Art’s popular.  That’s my generation. It wasn’t before…  Isn’t that  an awesome thing? (D. Hirst)

At Tate Modern in London, the queuing has begun: Damien Hirst’s first retrospective exhibition, bringing together more than seventy art pieces of the last 25 years, is sure to be a hit. Location location location: even wandering tourists will be amazed by the large human body (Hymn, 1999-2005) in front of the already quite impressive Tate building.

Even though queuing can be quite an entertaining activity when there’s plenty to see, we went for the safe option and ordered our tickets on line.  I wasn’t convinced about the buzz around Hirst (I must admit I only knew his shark and other formaldehyde installations), but I am really glad I saw the exhibition. Even if you’re not the greatest connoisseur of modern art, you will be intrigued. For me, it was my 11 month-old daughter and her 11 year-old cousin who made me realize that art is really a universal language, and when there’s vibrant colours and contrasts,  or a story to tell, it’s a joy to experience the art; no need to understand all of it.

Favourites of our little group (two adults, one student, a teenager and a baby) included: the hairdryer holding up a ping-pong ball (descriptive honest language for ‘What Goes Up Must Come Down’ – 1994), the Spot Paintings, the Shark (‘The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living) , the beach ball and glossy paintings (‘Loving a World of Desire’ – 1996 and two rotating gloss paintings on canvas -with very long titles) and everything butterfly- Matthew Williamson must have seen these paintings!

The retrospective at Tate Modern of the most controversial modern artist of our times proves that Hirst is right: art is popular, and that’s just wonderful.

‘Damien Hirst’ in Tate Modern, until 9 September 2012.

CREDITS: Text: Marjan// Photography: Getty Images, Photo News, AP and Marjan

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