To accompany Tate Modern’s major survey of Damien Hirst’s work, the artist’s iconic diamond-covered skull For the Love of God 2007 will be shown in the Turbine Hall. Presented as a free display to coincide with the opening twelve weeks of the Damien Hirst exhibition, sponsored by the Qatar Museums Authority, the work will be housed in a special viewing room from 4 April to 24 June 2012.
For the Love of God is a life-size platinum cast of an eighteenth century human skull, covered by 8,601 flawless diamonds, inset with the original skull’s teeth. At the front of the cranium is a 52.4 carat pink diamond. Since it was first exhibited in 2007, For the Love of God has become one of the most widely recognised works of contemporary art. It represents the artist’s continued interest in mortality and notions of value. Alluding to the iconography of the skull in art as a memento mori – a reminder of the fragility of life – the work can be viewed alternatively as a glorious, devotional, defiant or provocative gesture in the face of death itself.
For the Love of God will be shown in the east end of the Turbine Hall and will be free for visitors to Tate Modern to view. Having been exhibited at the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam in 2008 and the Palazzo Vecchio, Florence in 2010-11, its display at Tate Modern will be the first time it has been shown in a public gallery in the UK.
Ann Gallagher, Head of Collections (British Art), Tate and curator of the exhibition said:
We are delighted to be showing this key work by Damien Hirst to coincide with our major exhibition at Tate Modern in 2012. Visitors will be given the opportunity to view For the Love of God as an independent exhibit or as a culmination of many of the themes revealed in the exhibition, which surveys Hirst’s work from the late 1980s onwards.
Damien Hirst said:
I am really pleased that the diamond skull will be on exhibition again in London, having been away for five years. The Turbine Hall at Tate Modern is a great place to show it and I hope lots of people enjoy seeing it there next spring.
For the Love of God will be on display in the Turbine Hall from 4 April to 24 June 2012.
Damien Hirst will be at Tate Modern from 4 April to 9 September 2012. It will be the first substantial survey of the artist’s work ever held in the UK, and will be part of the London 2012 Festival, the culmination of the Cultural Olympiad. The exhibition 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.