Damien Hirst’s Cherry Blossoms bloom at Cartier Fondation

Damien Hirst’s Cherry Blossoms bloom at Cartier Fondation

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Damien Hirst’s Cherry Blossoms bloom at Cartier Fondation

British contemporary painter Damien Hirst has a new exhibit at Cartier Foundation

British contemporary painter Damien Hirst has a new exhibit at Cartier Foundation

Text: Molly Wilcox

Who says cherry blossoms only bloom in spring? Damien Hirst’s cherry blossom paintings will be exhibited at the Cartier Fondation until January 2, 2022. Thirty paintings in total, the Cherry Blossoms will be displayed on the walls in the Jean Nouvel space.

The Triumph of Death Blossom, 2019. Photo by Prudence Cuming Associates

Following a period of contentious exhibits, the British contemporary painter is returning to a more delicate aesthetic, pulling inspiration from impressionist art movements of the 19th and 20th century. The painted cherry blossoms bloom on the dark branches, colored with pink, red, white, and touches of green. Hirst combines his own style of painting projections with softer touches, resulting in floral landscapes bursting with life.

Cherry Blossoms is Hirst’s first art exhibition in France, and his paintings reexamine and reimagine the traditional subject of landscape painting. He combines Pointillism with Impressionism, and covers the entire canvas in vibrant color, creating an abstract floral landscape.

Excitement's Blossom, 2020 photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates

Hirst devoted three full years to the collection and spoke about how the pandemic helped finish them: “[The pandemic] has given me a lot more time to live with the paintings, and look at them, and make absolutely certain that everything’s finished.” In total, the series consists of 107 canvases, divided into single panels, diptychs, triptychs, quadriptychs and even a hexaptych.

The exhibition was created from an invitation by Hervé Chandès, the general director of the Foundation Cartier, in 2019.

“The Cherry Blossoms are about beauty and life and death. They’re extreme — there’s something almost tacky about them. Like Jackson Pollock twisted by love. They’re decorative but taken from nature. They’re about desire and how we process the things around us and what we turn them into, but also about the insane visual transience of beauty—a tree in full crazy blossom against a clear sky.”

Fantasia Blossom, 2018 Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates

Damien Hirst's career took off when he attended Goldsmiths College in London in 1986 and soon after became the face of the Young British Artists, a group known for experimenting with style and material. One of Hirst's most controversial and experimental exhibits was the Natural History series — in which animals appear in formaldehyde-filled tanks. But painting has always played an essential role in Hirst’s work: “I’ve had a romance with painting all my life, even if I avoided it. As a young artist, you react to the context, your situation. In the 1980s, painting wasn’t really the way to go.”

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