British artist Damien Hirst is exhibiting his Cherry Blossoms series of paintings from 6 July 2021 to 2 January 2022 at the Cartier Foundation in Paris. Cherry Blossoms is a ‘celebration of colour within chaos.’
The exhibition is a collection of 30 paintings chosen from Damien Hirst’s recent collection of 107 ‘large-scale’ canvasses. He combines ‘thick brushstrokes and elements of gestural painting, referencing both impressionism and Pointillism, as well as Action Painting.’
For people unfamiliar with Bristol-born Damien Hirst (1965-), who has lived in London since 1984, his Cherry Blossoms series is not botanical, nor realistic, but rather, it is interpretative art.
Hirst says that the Cherry Blossom exhibition is a return to solitary work in his studio. This return to solitude is not due to Coronavirus pandemic ‘quarantining or self-isolation.’ He commenced the series in early 2018, taking three years, to finish in November 2020. But he says that ‘the pandemic has given me a lot more time to live with the paintings, and look at them, and make absolutely certain that everything’s finished.’ He worked on several canvasses at the same time, returning to some months after their completion.
Hirst describes the Cherry Blossom series as beauty and life and death. He sees his artworks as 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 colour 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.’
Photographer: Martina Nicolls