Back To Auction View Of Cape Town – February 2017

Lot 816

Damien Hirst


each sheet size: 106 by 52cm

R20 000 – R30 000

signed colour silkscreen and offset lithograph on two sheets of wallpaper

Damien Hirst, arguably the most celebrated creative to come from the Young British Artists (YBAs) movement, completed his training at Goldsmiths College in London. In 1988 Hirst conceived and created ‘Freeze’an exhibition of his work as well as the work of his fellow students at Goldsmiths. In the 28 years following that show, Hirst has become one of the most prominent artists of his generation. His work is widely recognised, from the shark suspended in formaldehyde, The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living (1991) and his spot, spin and butterfly paintings, through to later works like For the Love of God (2007), a diamond encrusted skull.
Throughout his work, Hirst takes a direct and challenging approach to ideas about existence. His work calls into question our awareness and convictions about the boundaries that separate desire and fear, life and death, reason and faith, love and hate. Hirst uses the tools and iconography of science and religion, creating sculptures and paintings whose beauty and intensity offer the viewer insight into art that transcends our familiar understanding of those domains. “There are four important things in life: religion, love, art and science,” the artist has said. “At their best, they’re all just tools to help you find a path through the darkness. None of them really work that well, but they help. Of them all, science seems to be the one right now. Like religion, it provides the glimmer of hope that maybe it will be alright in the end.”

The wallpaper exhibited in lot 816 takes its name from the Tate Britain exhibition in which it was originally used to clad the walls of this highly respected institution. The name for the exhibition, In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, was borrowed from the title track of an LP released in 1968 by the rock band, Iron Butterfly. The song was originally going to be called ‘In the Garden of Eden’. Legend has it that the lead singer was so drunk when he first announced the song’s title that one of the band members wrote down phonetically the slurred words ‘In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida’.

The title suggests an overt theme: broadly, the contemporary consequences of the original myth of falling from grace, but the exhibition also reveals the differing formal and material approaches of three artists, Sarah Lucas, Angus Fairhurst and Damien Hirst, and how they use metaphor in diverse ways. In this exhibition, Hirst constructed complex installations inside vitrines and displayed grandiose collages using real butterflies and flies in addition to designing the very intricate wallpaper which we see in lot 816.

- Barkham, P., Damien Hirst’s Butterflies: Distressing but Weirdly Uplifting, The Guardian, 18 April 2012 Online, available:
- Gagosian, Damien Hirst. Online, available:
- Tate Britain, In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida: Angus Fairhurst, Damien Hirst and Sarah Lucas, March 2004. Online, available:


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