Home > Art-Culture-Architecture, News of the moment > Damien Hirst: Two Weeks One Summer – review.

Damien Hirst: Two Weeks One Summer – review.

22nd May 2012 by    Find Full Review Here:-

White Cube Bermondsey, London 23 May – 8 July 2012.

Two Parrots by Damien Hirst View larger picture

A detail from Two Parrots (2010) by Damien Hirst. Click to see full picture.
Photograph: Damien Hirst and Science Ltd.  All rights reserved, DACS 2012

The last time I saw paintings as deluded as Damien Hirst’s latest works, the artist’s name was Saif al-Islam Gaddafi. A decade ago the son of Libya’s then still very much alive dictator showed sentimental paintings of desert scenes in an exhibition sponsored by fawning business allies. Searching for some kind of parallel to the arrogance and stupidity of Hirst’s still life paintings, I find myself remembering that strange, sad spectacle.

There is a pathos about Two Weeks One Summer, in which Hirst shows paintings of parrots and lemons, shark’s jaws and foetuses in jars in a vast space in White Cube Bermondsey. It is the same kind of pathos that clings to dictators’ art. This is the kind of kitsch that is foisted on helpless peoples by Neros and Hitlers and such tyrants so beyond normal restraint or criticism they believe they are artists. I am not saying this to be cruel. There is a real analogy: Hirst like an absolute ruler must be utterly surrounded by a court of yes-people, all down the line from his painting shed to the gallery, if there is no one to tell him he is rowing himself to artistic damnation with these trivial and pompous slabs of hack work.

This is the third exhibition by Damien Hirst to open in London this spring, and it retroactively mocks the others. His retrospective at Tate Modern is brilliantly edited. It includes all the best vitrines, and none of the rotten “proper” paintings that he now makes at home in Devon. To paraphrase the epitaph on Albrecht Dürer’s tomb, whatever is immortal (or at least memorable) of Damien Hirst is in that exhibition. But here is the other side of the story: an artist so wealthy and powerful that he can kid himself he is an Old Master and have the art world go along with the fantasy. The most recent paintings here were finished this year, so the fantasy is still very much alive. So is the courtiers’ chorus of support.

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