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Thursday, 2 August 2012

Damien Hirst - In and Out of Love

Damien Hirst - In and Out of Love, 1991 - Photo by Caroline Claisse 

You wander into a room. There are canvases on all of the walls, each painted with a single bright, glossy color; each with a number of butterfly specimens firmly affixed. In the central space, ashes. The remains of numerous packets of cigarettes.

Damien Hirst - In and Out of Love (detail) - Photo by Hettie O'Brien

You move through this room and -- passing through a veil -- into the next room. You are again met by butterflies. This time, they are living ones. Having been affixed to canvases as chrysalises, they have (some time ago) emerged as winged creatures, dripping a blood-like fluid down the blank canvases of their rebirths. Paintings made with their bodies. Butterfly calligraphy, written in the language of flight.

Damien Hirst. In and Out of Love. Photo: Google Credits.
Damien Hirst. In and Out of Love. Photo by Caroline Claisse.

In one room, the stasis of death; bodies like memories. In the other, all the chaos and the messiness and movement of life being lived. In one room absence, in the other  presence. In one room the past, in the other a vital presentness.

The work is Damien Hirst's In and Out of Love.

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