Home Magazine Damien Hirst's art for change 2020 at Weng Contemporary

Cherry Blossom trees in full bloom, rainbows, hearts. Since April 2020, Damien Hirst (b. 1965) - the English richest living artist, entrepreneur, and art collector - has been revisiting, the spontaneous joy of painting for humanitarian actions. Signs of hope, beauty, and life to support the charity campaigns and organizations during the COVID-19 crisis. This new body of works is now available at Weng Contemporary on Kooness!

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Damien Hirst's latest “expressionistic” paintings, Cherry Blossoms - a vast floral landscape moving between tradition and reinterpretation - are to exhibitat Fondation Cartier in Paris in June 2021. After two years of intense work in his London studio, Hirst has transcended the principle of an imaginary mechanical painter - cunningly blending both Impressionism and Pointillism, as well as Action Painting. 

A tree in full crazy blossom against a clear sky. It’s been so good to make them, to be completely lost in colour and in paint in my studio. They’re garish and messy and fragile and about me moving away from Minimalism,that’s so exciting to me”, Hirst proclaims life over death and decay. 


Damien Hirst, Butterfly Rainbow, 2020 ©Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. (All images courtesy of the artist and via Weng Contemporary).


Having completely surpassed the idea of “minimal paintings fucked up by butterflies landing in paint”, during the past year, Hirst created joyful and innocuous, childish structures, in lieu of a solid gloss-paint horror. With Butterfly Rainbow and Butterfly Heart (sold at Sotheby's for 6,930 euros in October 2020), Hirst managed to incorporate organized elements of ephemerality (the butterflies) in a drawing (the rainbow and the heart) that has become the epitome of the resistance and resilience to the Covid-19. A limited edition of the work Butterfly Rainbow - which is made up of one of the artist’s best‐known motifs, the colored butterfly wings - was sold in April 2020 with all profits donated to the NHS, the British National Health Service, whose staff is still working, tirelessly, in hospitals around the country. 


Damien Hirst, Butterfly Heart © Damien Hirst (All images courtesy of the artist and via Weng Contemporary).


New limited editions by Hirst have been released in May 2020. All profits from the sales of Butterfly Rainbow and Butterfly Heart - digitally made up of bands of photographed coloured butterfly wings - were donated to NHS Charities Together and The Felix Project. 

Eventually, in September 2020, Damien Hirst released newer editions in aid of Save the Children's education program in Italy - in collaboration with Fondazione Prada in Milan. The limited-edition prints, titled Fruitful and Forever (now available at Weng Contemporary), show close-up details - bright, abstractand densely layered - of Hirst’s Cherry Blossom paintings. All the series are inspired by the work of Pierre Bonnard, Claude Monet, Vincent Van Gogh and Georges Seurat. 


Damien Hirst, Forever, 2020. All images courtesy of Weng Contemporary. 


Damien Hirst, Fruitful, 2020. All images courtesy of Weng Contemporary


Hirst has suddenly deleted what he had always wanted for in his creative process: to pin down the joy of colour, to remove any physical evidence of human intervention. In Butterfly Rainbow and Butterly Heart, the grid-harmonious formula of shades and repetitive shapes is a constant challenge to our senses because it “leaps beyond its own dimension”.

In the meantime, a major exhibition of over 40 works by Damien Hirst openedin St. Moritz, Switzerland, across four locations, in February 2021 - Mental Escapology. The exhibition featured works from some of Hirst’s most well-known series, including Spot Paintings and Butterfly Colour Paintings, which have greatly influenced the charity limited series. 

The artist is obviously not new to charitable work, but is Damien Hirst rewriting the future of his art through charity? From Mental Escapology and the Butterfly Series - “an accident of paint with butterflies stuck on it” - Hirst’s interest in simple visual trickery and in the appearance of life retained in insects’death, has found a universal trigger. Everyone loves butterflies, everyone loves a good cause.


Mental Escapologyat the Protestant Church St Moritz, 2021. Photographed by Felix Friedmann © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2021.


Find out more about Damien Hirst’s latest works at Weng Contemporary


 Cover image: Damien Hirst in London in 2011 with one of his spot paintings. © Andrew Testa for The New York Times.

Written by Petra Chiodi 

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