Press Release

Damien Hirst

Press release announcing the Damien Hirst exhibition at Tate Modern 4 April – 9 September 2012

4 April – 9 September 2012
Tate Modern

Sponsored by the Qatar Museums Authority

Admission £14 (£12.20 concessions) or £15.50 (£13.50 concessions) with Gift Aid donation
Open every day from 10.00–18.00 and late until 22.00 on Friday to Sunday  

Tate Modern presents the first substantial survey of Damien Hirst’s work ever held in the UK. Hirst is widely regarded as one of the most important artists working today and has created some of the most iconic works in recent history. Sponsored by the Qatar Museums Authority, the exhibition provides a journey through two decades of Hirst’s inventive practice. It also forms part of the London 2012 Festival, the culmination of the Cultural Olympiad.

Damien Hirst first came to public attention in London in 1988 when he conceived and curated Freeze, an exhibition of his own work and that of his friends and fellow Goldsmiths College students, staged in a disused London warehouse. Many of the works he created at that time will be on display at Tate Modern for the first time since the 1980s. In the nearly quarter of a century since then, Hirst has gone on to become one of the most influential artists of his generation.

Bringing together over seventy of the artist’s seminal works, the exhibition includes key sculptures from the early 1990s, such as The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, in which a shark is suspended in formaldehyde, and Mother and Child Divided, a four-part sculpture of a bisected cow and calf. Also on show are important vitrines, such as A Thousand Years 1990, in which the cycle of life is represented by a cow’s head, flies and insect-o-cutor. Alongside these sculptures are cabinets displaying rows of pills, medical packaging and surgical implements, as well as paintings made throughout Hirst’s career from his spot, spin, butterfly and fly series. In addition, two major installations are on display: In and Out of Love 1991, which includes a room full of live butterflies and has not been shown in its entirety since its creation, and Pharmacy 1992.

Damien Hirst said:

We have been planning this show for so long I can’t believe it’s finally happening – I think I was avoiding looking back but now I’ve done it it’s exciting! It’s nearly twenty-five years of my life. There is something for everyone and I’m glad people will get the opportunity to see my work and judge for themselves.

Damien Hirst was born in 1965 in Bristol, UK. He lives and works in London and Devon. He is one of the most prominent artists to have emerged from the British art scene in the 1990s. Hirst’s exploration of imagery is notable for its strong associations to life and death, and to belief and value systems.

Damien Hirst is curated by Ann Gallagher, Head of Collections (British Art), Tate, with Loren Hansi Momodu, Assistant Curator, Tate Modern and is coordinated by Sophie McKinlay, Project Manager, Tate Modern. The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue by Tate Publishing.

See also

Tate Modern Exhibition

Damien Hirst

4 Apr – 9 Sep 2012
The first substantial survey of Damien Hirst's work in a British institution, bringing together key works from over twenty ...

Editor notes

For public information and tickets please print or 020 7887 8888

Damien Hirst

Damien Hirst has participated in numerous group exhibitions including the Venice Biennale in 1993 and 2003; Twentieth Century British Sculpture, Jeu de Paume, Paris, 1996; Extreme Abstraction, Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, 2005; Into Me / Out of Me, P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, New York, 2006; Re-Object, Kunsthaus Bregenz, 2007 and Color Chart: Reinventing Color 1950 to Today, Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2008. Solo exhibitions include Internal Affairs, ICA, London, 1991; Astrup Fearnley Museum, Oslo, 1997; The Agony and the Ecstasy, Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Naples, 2004; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 2005; For the Love of God, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, 2008 and Palazzo Vecchio, Florence, 2010/11. He received the DAAD fellowship in Berlin in 1994 and won the Turner Prize in 1995.

About Qatar Museums Authority

Qatar Museums Authority (QMA) was founded in 2005 by His Highness the Emir, Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani. Under the leadership of its Chairperson, H.E. Sheikha Al Mayassa, QMA is transforming the State of Qatar into a cultural hub for the Middle East. The globally acclaimed Museum of Islamic Art, designed by I.M. Pei, was inaugurated in 2008.

In 2010, Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art opened, creating a focus for the emerging modern and contemporary art scene in the region. The National Museum of Qatar is currently being developed in a major new building designed by Jean Nouvel. The ambitious programme has been gathering pace including large-scale exhibitions by international artists, showing in the Middle East for the first time. Among these are Cai Guo-Qiang, in December 2011, Louise Bourgeois, in January 2012, and Takashi Murakami, in February 2012. In December last year, the new MIA Park, designed by Pei Partnership Architects, was inaugurated featuring the first public artwork by Richard Serra in the Middle East.

For further information, please visit

About the Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival

The London 2012 Cultural Olympiad is the largest cultural celebration in the history of the modern Olympic and Paralympic Movements.  Spread over four years, it is designed to give everyone in the UK a chance to be part of London 2012 and inspire creativity across all forms of culture, especially among young people. 

The culmination of the Cultural Olympiad will be the London 2012 Festival, a spectacular 12-week nationwide celebration bringing together leading artists from across the world with the very best from the UK, from Midsummer’s Day on 21 June and running until the final day of the Paralympic Games on 9 September 2012. The London 2012 Festival will celebrate the huge range, quality and accessibility of the UK’s world-class culture including dance, music, theatre, the visual arts, fashion, film and digital innovation, giving the opportunity for people across the UK to celebrate the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Principal funders of the Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival are Arts Council England, Legacy Trust UK and the Olympic Lottery Distributor. BP and BT are Premier Partners of the Cultural Olympiad and the London 2012 Festival. 

For more details on the programme and to sign up for information visit