Damien Hirst has a protracted historical past of doing it for himself and now he’s opening an exhibition of greater than 50 early works, many from his personal assortment, at his Newport Road Gallery in south London subsequent week.
The exhibition, titled Finish of a Century (7 October to 7 March 2021), will embody greater than 50 installations, sculptures and work from the 1980s and 1990s, when Hirst got here to fame as one of many Younger British Artists (YBAs). Count on medication cupboards, sharks pickled in formaldehyde and spot work.
“Displaying my works from the 90s and earlier than, so way back! Makes me really feel outdated—final century?” Hirst posted on Instagram beneath an image of his mammoth sculpture, Hymn (1995-2005), being winched by crane into the gallery yesterday.
Examples from Hirst’s best-known our bodies of labor together with his Pure Historical past formaldehyde sequence are hotly anticipated. “It’s a unprecedented alternative to see Damien’s early work, significantly for the following technology,” says Cheyenne Westphal, the chairman of Phillips public sale home. “His artwork from the 1990s is groundbreaking, he was the trailblazer who actually modified our artwork scene right here within the UK.”
Plenty of works which haven’t been exhibited earlier than are making an look, together with Artwork’s About Life, the Artwork World is About Cash (1998), an public sale home scene framed inside a glass and metal case, and Up, Up and Away (1997), through which three geese are suspended in formaldehyde. Early collages from the 1980s, impressed by the German artist Kurt Schwitters, are additionally happening present.
Newport Road Gallery was opened in 2015 particularly to share Hirst’s 3,000-strong assortment with the general public. The artist’s former chief curator, Hugh Allan, informed the Guardian newspaper on the time that Hirst’s work wouldn’t go on present, though particular person items by the previous YBA have been included in group exhibits over the previous few years.
That is Hirst’s first solo present on the gallery, nevertheless. A spokeswoman says: “Many guests have requested to see Damien’s artwork and, throughout Covid-19, we determined to organise a present of Damien’s early works, a few of which haven’t been seen earlier than. The position of the gallery has not modified.”
The works are mainly drawn from Hirst’s personal assortment, augmented by different personal loans. Not one of the artwork is on the market, in line with the Newport Road Gallery spokeswoman. “Damien Hirst’s assortment isn’t actually on the market, he has all the time stored that very separate,” Westphal says.
Hirst’s public sale market has been patchy for the previous decade, however, as Westphal factors out, there have solely been a “sprinkling of actually vital early works” which have come to market. Earlier this yr, Phillips bought works from the gathering of the London bond salesman Robert Tibbles, who was one of many first to purchase a piece by Hirst, together with a capsule cupboard for £600 in 1989, which bought for £1.4m with charges.
In contrast, Hirst’s personal market seems in impolite well being. His monumental Venice exhibition, Treasures of the Wreck of the Unbelievable, reportedly bought out in 2017 racking up £250m. The present, put in throughout Christie’s proprietor François Pinault’s museums, was closely criticised, not just for being overblown, but additionally for masquerading as a showroom for oligarchs.
The Newport Road Gallery exhibition will not be on the market, however the publicity will little question profit Hirst. Because the creator, artwork market journalist and editor-at-large of The Artwork Newspaper Georgina Adam says: “Damien Hirst has a well-trodden historical past of bypassing his sellers and promoting straight to collectors, whether or not by means of exhibitions or at public sale. All the things has a value.”