Damien Hirst, born in 1965, is an interdisciplinary artist who emerged with the Young British Artists, the group of visual artists who exhibited in London in the late 1980s—many newlygraduated from Goldsmiths School of Art—and came to dominate the British art scene for the next decade. Hirst has since become a household name, and is now among the richest living artists of our time. Some of his most iconic works include real-life animals, dead yet immaculately preserved and displayed in tanks of formaldehyde. The most famous of these works is The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, a 1991 creation comprising a 14-foot shark suspended in a clear case.
These works, like much of Hirst’s oeuvre, revolve around themes of death, time, and memory. Hirst has delved into many mediums including installations, sculptures, paintings, and drawings. His practice examines the multiplex relationships between aesthetics, religion, technology, science, and life/death. Hirst is also well-known for his serialized paintings of multicoloured spots, which he began as a project painting directly into gallery walls. The repetitive and meticulous forms seem mechanized from afar, but up close are meant to reveal the subtle imperfections of the human hand.
Hirst completely overturned the modern art world in 2018 when he decided to unaffiliate with all art galleries and sell his own work at auction. This unexpected move challenged the framework of contemporary art consumerism and sparked debates surrounding the autonomy of artists and their roles regarding the ownership, transfer, acquisition, and profit of their work. His artwork, as well as his ideological and commercial practices all point to a challenging of contemporary belief systems. Hirst is currently based in London.