Tate Britain  Linbury Galleries
3 March – 31 May 2004

In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida is a unique collaboration between three of Britain’s best-known contemporary artists. Angus Fairhurst, Damien Hirst and Sarah Lucas first met on the Fine Art course at Goldsmiths College, London in 1986 and have remained close, influencing each other’s work through friendship and intermittent collaboration. This is the first time the three have worked together to realise a full-scale exhibition installation. The exhibition features mainly new work which is unveiled for the first time at Tate Britain.

The exhibition’s title - a mutated reference to the biblical theme of the Garden of Eden - is taken from the 1968 recording by the psychedelic rock band Iron Butterfly. The potent story of Eden provides the setting for an exhibition which explores the themes of life, love, sex, death and destruction. While Fairhurst, Hirst and Lucas explore common themes, In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida also reveals their differing formal and material approaches and use of metaphor in creating their work.

In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida’s installation features a large, open space revealing a dramatic landscape populated by seemingly bizarre objects, with wallpaper conceived by each of the three artists providing the background for their work. Sarah Lucas often uses commonplace items such as pizza delivery flyers, soft drink cans and cigarettes to create unexpectedly finely-crafted objects. Among her sculptures in the exhibition is The Man Who Sold the World 2004, which features a truck whose cab is papered with tabloid newspapers and Christ You Know It Ain’t Easy 2003, a sculpture of Christ created from cigarettes and positioned against a representation of the flag of St George.

Damien Hirst meanwhile makes increasingly complex installations using vitrines and has returned to the use of butterflies in recent paintings. He shows five new vitrines in
In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida including The Pursuit of Oblivion 2004, Hirst’s reworking of Francis Bacon’s Painting, 1946. In Bacon’s painting the crucified body hangs like an animal carcass whereas in Hirst’s sculpture the body has literally been transformed into the carcass of a cow, surrounded by live fish, sausages and a butcher’s block and knives. He also exhibits a large, circular work in which thousands of dead flies create a thickly encrusted surface.

Angus Fairhurst’s work revolves around an heightened sense of collapse, of disintegration of form and renewal. His large billboard works sandwich together a number of advertisements to create complex compositions. He also shows One Year of the News (1st January - 31st December 2003) 2004, a piece in which each day of one year is marked by the copying and overlaying of the front pages of six British national newspapers, instantly recognisable but unreadable.

The exhibition is curated by Gregor Muir, Kramlich Curator of Contemporary Art, Tate and Clarrie Wallis, Curator, Tate Britain, and will be accompanied by an illustrated catalogue Clarrie Wallis, Curator, Tate Britain, and will be accompanied by an illustrated catalogue.

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