Damien Hirst, Cherry Blossoms – July 6, 2021 – January 2, 2022: The Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain recently unveiled Cherry Blossoms, Hirst’s remarkable new series of paintings. Cherry Blossoms is Damien Hirst’s first museum exhibition in France.
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.
Video: Watch Damien Hirst, “Cherry Blossoms”– 360° studio experience
“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
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 catalogue), divided into single panels, diptychs, triptychs, quadriptychs, and even a hexaptych, all large-format.
The exhibition, a response to an invitation by Hervé Chandès, General Director of the Fondation Cartier, to Damien Hirst during a meeting in London in 2019, presents thirty paintings selected by Hervé Chandès and the artist. Taking over the space designed by Jean Nouvel, the canvases, covered in thick, vibrant paint, absorb the spectator into the paintings.
For more information on the exhibition, visit the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain
Images © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd.