Relics by Damien Hirst

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Note: This is a long-overdue post. Some images may be offensive to other readers. 

Damien Hirst is a controversial English artist known for his fondness to dead animals which are the main theme for most of his famous works. Let me just make it clear that I do not support and favor this artist in particular.

We visited his first ever exhibit here in the Middle East, which was held at the Al Riwaq Gallery last January 2014. The exhibit was free of charge but you will be asked to surrender your cameras (phones are allowed).

Hanging skeletons greet you at the Main entrance to the Gallery.

For the Love of God
Platinum skull cast set with diamonds and real human teeth


The History of Pain
MDF, steel, steel knife blades, air blower and beach ball


Horror at Home
2.4 x 2.4 meter fiberglass ashtray with cigarettes, cigarette packing, matches, etc.

This room smells really bad with all that cigarette butts and tobacco trimmings.


Butterflies and household gloss on canvass

It's Great To Be Alive
Butterflies and household gloss on canvass

Doorways to the Kingdom of Heaven
Butterflies and household gloss on canvass

Butterfly Kaleidoscope Painting detail

See how he made invisible but visible lines?


Lullaby, the Seasons
Pill cabinet

Love's Secret
Diamond Cabinet with Cubic Zirconia

The Abyss
Cigarette Cabinet with cigarette, cigars and ash


6.8 meter long basking shark in formaldehyde solution

Leviathan detail

The Immortal
4 meter shark in formaldehyde solution

Black Sheep
Sheep in formaldehyde solution

There are also some pieces that I chose not to post because of the gruesome conditions of most of them. There were installations showing the insides of a cow and a sheep, some cows were beheaded and some had blood spill on the base, other glass boxes were infested with live flies and skinned cow's head.

All the pieces in his Natural History collection were commissioned with the assistance of London's Natural History Museum. No live animals were harmed during the process.

I won't lie, there were moments when I really wanted to puke or faint, some of his artworks are
quite gruesome for normal people (i.e. ME). I seriously DID NOT enjoy every moment of this gallery, except for the butterfly kaleidoscope paintings.

You can check out his website here:
Damien Hirst

And his Qatar Exhibit here:
Relics: Damien Hirst

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  1. Some of these pieces are really interesting, and thought-provoking. I'm not sure I'll enjoy being in the actual gallery though... Not with the smell of cigarettes, and sights of live flies... But I'm intrigued.

    1. Yes, they sure are interesting. We entered his exhibit on impulse. Had we known about the live flies, dissected animals and beheaded cows, we probably wouldn't have came in at all.

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