Go See – Hong Kong: Damien Hirst’s ‘Forgotten Promises’ exhibition, complete with a pink, diamond encrusted baby skull, inaugurates the new Gagosian Gallery through March 19th, 2011

January 20th, 2011

Damien Hirst, For Heaven’s Sake (2008). Platinum, pink and white diamonds, 85 x 85 x 100 mm. © 2011 Damien Hirst and Hirst Holdings Ltd, DACS 2011

For the inauguration of the Gagosian Gallery‘s new Hong Kong exhibition space, Damien Hirst presents Forgotten Promises, a show displaying new paintings and sculpture by the artist. With these new works Hirst continues his existential interrogations of existence, death, beauty, and decay, including Butterfly Fact Paintings, a series of diamond studded cabinets, and a life-size human baby skull covered in diamonds. “Diamonds are about perfection and clarity and wealth and sex and death and immortality. They are a symbol of everything that’s eternal, but then they have a dark side as well,” says Hirst in the press release.

Artist Takashi Murakami at the exhibition, via Arrested Motion

More text and images after the jump…

Damien Hirst, Butterfly Painting. Via WSJ

Hirst’s earlier “fact paintings” focused on the agony and brutality of the world around him. Among other processes, he would use documentary images found in magazines and newspapers or the beauty and challenges of childbirth through shots of the birth of his own son to capture the black and white nature of everyday existence. His new Butterfly Fact Paintings portray pivotal moments in the fleeting lives of different species of butterflies. The butterfly is one of the artist’s most frequently depicted creatures. For Hirst, it symbolizes the beauty and fragility of existence. The artist uses scientific representations and photographs of butterflies for the source of his oil paintings. A group of paintings, including Age of Magnificence and Fading Magnificence (both 2008-2009), have real butterflies placed within layers of shiny metallic paint.

Damien Hirst, Pain (2010). Gold-plated stainless steel, glass and lab rubies, 22 x 28 inches (56 x 71 cm). Via Gagosian

New diamond works are also included in the exhibition such as Forgotten Sorrows (2010), Lost Friends (2010), and Tears of Joy (2010), all diamond-studded cabinets pointing to melancholy and loss as suggested by their title. Perhaps the most intriguing—and controversial—of all the works at the exhibition is For Heaven’s Sake (2008), a life-size human baby skull cast in platinum and covered in 8,128 pavé-set perfect diamonds: 7,105 natural fancy pink diamonds, and, on the fontanel, 1,023 white diamonds. The work was cast from a real skull, part of a 19th-century pathology collection, which came into the artist’s possession a few years ago. The work follows For the Love of God (2007), a similarly diamond-covered life-size mature human skull, now on view at the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence.

Damien Hirst, via The Telegraph

Gagosian Gallery’s new Hong Kong space is located in the Pedder Building, the last surviving colonial-era office building in the Central district. The space, which takes up 5,000 square feet, or about 465 square meters and an entire floor of the building, has four-meter ceilings, difficult to find in the region but a necessary benefit for a gallery of modern and contemporary art. Damien Hirst’s Forgotten Promises inaugurates the space with Gagosian’s penchant for artistic boldness, innovation, and mesmerizing beauty.

-R.A. Proctor

Related Links:
Exhibition page [Gagosian Gallery]
How to Impress Damien Hirst at the Gagosian Opening in Hong Kong [Huffington Post]
Gagosian to Open Gallery in Hong Kong with an Exhibition by Damien Hirst [Artdaily]
Damien Hirst’s diamond baby skull exhibits in Hong Kong [The Telegraph]
Diamond-studded skull smiles on Asian Art Market [France24]
Hirst creates mini-diamond [The Independent]
Week Ahead: Asian Financial Forum, Damien Hirst Exhibit [WSJ]
Damien Hirst Reveals Baby Skull, Says I’m no Genius, Just Lucky: Interview [Bloomberg]
Hirst’s mini-skull heads east [The Art Newspaper]
Hirst in Hong Kong: Gagosian Gallery Opens with ‘Forgotten Promises’ [CNNgo]
Jet-Setters Wear Skulls for Damien Hirst’s Opening at Gagosian Hong Kong [ArtInfo]
Openings: Damien Hirst’s ‘Forgotten Promises’ at Gagosian Gallery (Hong Kong) w/ Takashi Murakami [Arrested Motion]