O U T S I D E L E F T   stay i n d e p e n d e n t

300 Words From London: Damien Hirst Goes To Church

More pills, not many thrills and a bit of religious belly aching. Damien Hirst. God. Again.

get the weekly Outsideleft newsletter
by Lake, Editor, London for outsideleft.com
originally published: March, 2007
"I think they were dead already" he said without much conviction.
by Lake, Editor, London for outsideleft.com
originally published: March, 2007
"I think they were dead already" he said without much conviction.

"No. He doesn't paint them himself. He has assistants that do that for him."
"Like apostles?"
"Well, you could say that I suppose. He's not really a draughtsman. He's more an ideas man. Other people act out his wishes. In that way we could look at modern artists as being just a little bit like God"

This is a conversation I overhead when I called in to the new Damien Hirst exhibition at All Hallows on the Wall in the City of London, a small 18th century Anglican church.

The show is more of Hirst's medicine related work. Like some kind of modern art Jeremy Paxman he once again poses the banal question: "Are medicines a bit like religion?" To make his point there are various prints of tablets given the names of the apostles, a huge paracetemol as a communion wafer, some bleeding hearts and a cross with pills set into its surface.

Like my most recent encounter with Brand-Hirst at his Serpentine Gallery MurderMe show I was distinctly underwhelmed which is probably why I was earwigging a Derek Nimmo sound-a-like offering his own thoughts to a group of Spanish tourists. I don't know if he was an official representative of the project giving a tour or an opportune evangelist sticking his beak in.

"I think they were dead already" he said without much conviction as the Spaniards looked up at the butterflies attached to the three new paintings that surround the altar. I was waiting for some Christian analogy. Nothing came.

But there was one piece I really liked. A representation of Christ crucified made up of framed prints of body parts presumably taken from medical textbooks. Pierced feet. Stab wounds. Open heart surgery. It may not have been subtle or even particularly well executed but unusually for a modern Hirst piece it was oddly moving.

see more stories from outsideleft's Culture archive »»

Lake
Editor, London

the first journalism Lake ever had published was a history of Johnny Thunders for Record Collector magazine, since then he has written for publications including the Guardian, Dazed and Confused, the Idler and more recently, outsideleft.com as you have just seen.

MORE STORIES TO READ...


thumb through the ancient archives:

search for something you might like...


sign up for the outsideleft weekly. a selection of new and archived stories every week. Or less.

View previous campaigns.

Death and Synthesizers
The Jam, 1977 And All That
Our newest contributor, the somewhat enigmatic Ancient Champion, listens to the Jam and figures, Nothing says "Christmas is Coming" for some middle-aged men more than a remastered collection of punk rock standards...
New Babylon
The London Philharmonic Orchestra is not known for its adventurousness when it comes to live silent film concerts. And so with New Babylon? Marek Pytel knows...
Normal Service Will Be Resumed as Soon as Possible
Pete Williams live with dinner, and drinks in Lightwoods house
Andy Conway's Ghosts of Christmas Past
Andy Conway's new book, Ghosts of Christmas Past exorcises his editor....
Deaf In Venice
CANALS. MASKS. GLASS. All things to do in Venice. But after that?
SOME OTHER THINGS