Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Damien Hirst Exhibition

All that stress I wrote about in last week's post seems to have just been a bad patch. Today I had quiet a cheery day!
Anyways, I promised a post on my trip to London!
Now, I am a downright country girl. London is a while away and bloody expensive to get to, so, as a general rule, I just don't go there. But when I do, it completely exhausts me and shoves in my face just how much I am a country bumpkin. Nevertheless, I find a trip to London incredibly exciting! (If it's only for a short while. Living there would be hell!)
So, Mum and I got to London Bridge with half an hour to get to the exhibition before our 'slot' closed to go in. (We had pre-booked.) We rushed around, attempting to work out how to get there, passing interesting things like some big church my mum once attended a wedding in, and some Victorian boat called The Golden Hinde. Apparently, it was amazing to have been able to look inside the church and see this boat I'd never heard of so I just took it as a very lovely, cultural experience!
As we got to Tate Modern, we found that the queue for the tickets was HOURS long, and began despairing until we quickly worked out that there was such a thing as a 'pre-booked tickets queue'!
Have you ever had that feeling when you get to walk right past a massive queue and groaning people and just go right in?
It was amazing! Now I feel mean to all those poor, already tired people, but hey! What could I do? So we collected our tickets and looked at the next daunting queue to see Damien Hirst's diamond skull. We decided to leave it for later. Yes. It was that bad!

We headed upstairs for the exhibition, and, soon enough, we were in! We saw a ping-pong ball hovering on the blowing air of a hairdryer (that must have taken years to balance!), - the same thing was found in a different room, just much larger, without a hair dryer and with a beach ball - a picture with Hirst smiling next to a dead head, lots and lots of dots and coloured pans on a wall and so on. For me, these were the things that didn't matter so much.
Dots. (Notice how they are not centered!)
Dead Head

(I couldn't find a picture of the beach balloon.)
Other stuff included A Thousand Years:

The white box is where flies are born. The cow's head is real. The flies then eat the head and die in the same enclosure. It is there for us to see the life cycle. 

It's quite nasty, isn't it? But the ideas behind it are fascinating! He does other weird things, like animals in formaldehyde:

This is one of his most famous pieces.

He also does a cow and calf divided in two. You can walk between the two sides and see the real insides of the animals.

Some argue that this is not art, it is just science. But Damien Hirst knows this! What I love about him is that he does modern art to take the piss out of if. His dots are done by someone else so that art critics ask what is behind the painting, when all it is are dots (and a mocking tone to those analysing!)
Hirst is brilliant and incredibly clever!
I admit, some of the stuff he does is quite disgusting.
For example, a circular canvas of dead flies...

He also made what looks like stain glass windows out of butterfly wings:

and one of the rooms of the exhibition was full of live butterflies! I'm not very good with butterflies but I decided to test myself instead of sitting back comfortably my whole life, so I went inside. When I say I'm not very good with them, what I mean is, they pretty much terrify me. I hate moths. They are horrid things. Surely people can understand that? So why are butterflies any different? They are just prettier!
So I went inside this room, which had a quick escape root on the other side if needs be. Imagine going into a room full of one of your worst nightmares! (My WORST would have been spiders. If that were the case, nothing would have been able to drag me in there). Mum wouldn't go in because she hates them as much as spiders.
When I went in, I wasn't really ready for their size! These things were MASSIVE! English butterflies may reach the size a small coaster, but these were dinner plate butterflies!
They flew by my face, my feet and even landed on people!
My worst fear is getting live things stuck in my hair. Of all the nasty things in the world, my two biggest fears are spiders and wasps. When I was little, I got a wasp stuck in my hair and since then, I've always had some paranoia that something is stuck, I just can't feel it.
So there I was, having a mini panic attack in the middle of the room, with everyone else casually strolling about with butterflies clinging onto them.
I lasted a minute. But I was proud of myself! I didn't back out at the entrance - I went in! I didn't just run straight for the exit - I stuck with it for as long as I could bear! And I felt tested. My heart was beating from fear and adrenaline and I felt I had got what I had wanted from the experience!

The rest of Hirst's stuff was hugely fascinating, such as this:

and, of course, this:

but I'd seen the skull before and nothing else had affected me quite as much as the live butterflies!
Damien Hirst is, overall, wonderful because he discusses religion, life, death, modern art, beauty and the comodification of art. He's a genius, he's intelligent and he's funny and I am a huge fan.

(The reason why I say this so directly is because when we got back, we got into a debate with some friends about whether Tracy Emin - who I really don't like - or Damien Hirst is a better artist. It got me quite het up...)

I hope this taught you something about artistic brilliance!
M. x


  1. Hi, I'm now follwong your blog as I'm intrigued to see where you go with your fantasy novel! Incidentally, there are some good creative writing degrees out there. Good luck with it!

    1. Thanks! Yeah, I'm thinking of taking English and Creative Writing at University and maybe taking some creative writing courses in my gap year.
      M. x