Damien Hirst’s formaldehyde sculptures on display in new exhibition

More than 20 sculptures made over 30 years will feature in the new exhibition in London.

Connie Evans
Wednesday 02 March 2022 14:34
A selection of Damien Hirst’s formaldehyde sculptures from the past 30 years will be exhibited in London later this month (Anthony Devlin/PA)
A selection of Damien Hirst’s formaldehyde sculptures from the past 30 years will be exhibited in London later this month (Anthony Devlin/PA)

Damien Hirst’s eye-catching formaldehyde sculptures will go on display in a new exhibition dedicated to the artist’s work using the naturally occurring compound.

Hirst, 56, emerged onto the art scene in the late 1980s and is known for his eclectic work often focused on the subject of death.

A selection of more than 20 of Hirst’s formaldehyde sculptures, dating from 1991 to 2021, will feature in Natural History, an exhibition dedicated to Hirst’s work using formaldehyde to preserve a variety of organisms.

Cain and Abel by Damien Hirst is one of 20 formaldehyde sculptures featured in the latest exhibition of Hirst’s work (Prudence Cumming/Gagosian/PA).

Hirst created his first sculpture using formaldehyde in 1991.

The work was a fourteen-foot tiger shark preserved in a tank, titled The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living and was commissioned by Iraqi-British businessman Charles Saatchi.

Bristol-born Hirst continued his use of the compound, working to bridge the gap between art and science.

Hirst is believed to be the UK’s richest living artist, with an estimated wealth of 384 million dollars (£288 million) according to the Sunday Times Rich List 2020.

The Natural History exhibition features a variety of preserved animals – including sheep, doves and zebra – some of which are bisected, sliced into cross sections, or flayed.

Cain and Abel by Damien Hirst is one of 20 formaldehyde sculptures featured in the latest exhibition of Hirst’s work (Prudence Cumming/Gagosian/PA).

The exhibition, which showcases works spanning a 30-year period, gathers many of the sculptures together for the first time.

Included in the exhibition will be The Impossible Lovers, a cabinet filled with glass jars containing preserved cow’s organs.

Also on display will be Cain and Abel, a sculpture of Hirst’s showing two calves in tanks encased in formaldehyde.

Natural History opens at the Gagosian Gallery on Britannia Street in London on March 10.

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