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Damien Hirst, Cherry Blossoms

Aug 17, 2021

The Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain presents the show Cherry Blossoms, Damien Hirst’s new series of paintings, celebrating colour within chaos. 

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The Cherry Blossoms are about beauty and life and death. They’re extreme—there’s something almost tacky about them. […] They’re decorative but taken from nature. […] They’re garish and messy and fragile and about me moving away from Minimalism and the idea of an imaginary mechanical painter and that’s so exciting for me.” – Damien Hirst

The Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain presents the exhibition Cherry Blossoms, Damien Hirst’s remarkable new series of paintings. Cherry Blossoms is Damien Hirst’s first museum exhibition in France. A show that is nothing less than a celebration of colour within chaos. 

The Cherry Blossoms series reinterprets, with playful irony, the traditional subject of landscape painting. Hirst combines thick brushstrokes and elements of gestural painting, referencing both Impressionism and Pointillism, as well as Action Painting. The monumental canvases, which are entirely covered in dense bright colours, envelope the viewer in a vast floral landscape moving between figuration and abstraction.

The Cherry Blossoms are at once a subversion and homage to the great artistic movements of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. They are integral to the pictorial exploration long carried out by Hirst. 

In his London studio, the artist describes “diving into the paintings and completely blitzing them from one end to the other.” He also talks about working on several canvases at the same time and constantly returning to these, which he kept close by, months after their completion. 

After devoting three full years to the series, Damien Hirst finished the Cherry Blossoms series in November 2020: “[The pandemic] has given me a lot more time to live with the paintings, and look at them, and make absolutely certain that everything’s finished.” The complete series comprises 107 canvases (all reproduced in the exhibition catalog), divided into single panels, diptychs, triptychs, quadriptychs, and even a hexaptych, all large-format. 

Damien Hirst, Cherry Blossoms is on show at the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain from July 6, 2021 to January 2, 2022.

View of the exhibition, Damien Hirst, Cherry Blossoms, Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris Photos : Thibaut Voisin

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