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  • Provenance

    White Cube, London

  • Catalogue Essay

    With his fatalistic and darkly humorous view of existence, Damien Hirst has continually pushed the boundaries of art in his exploration of humanity. The present lot is a sculpture by the artist representing an exposed fetus. A contrast is achieved through the crude representation of the human physiognomy, stripped of individuality and void of sentimentality and yet powerfully enigmatic as a visual paradox of strength and frailty: that of a woman with child. Her pose is similarly captivating: her stance is compelling in its simultaneous elegance and strength. The theme of transition whether slow or sudden, from life to form, is central to Hirst’s poetics: he explores the obscure threshold between life and art and probes its every angle, resulting here in a powerfully honest depiction of the gift of life.

    “Hirst's sculpture re-establishes the unity and integrity of the body, through the simplicity of its mechanics and at the same time the complexity of its maintenance and its existential considerations...Hirst subverts the humanism and allegorical anthropomorphism of traditional sculpture, indicating and recalling with surgical precision what occurs continually and without knowing, within our body, exposed and in turn heedless to the ravages of history: cells that multiply and die, blood that flows, glands that secrete, lungs that exhale and inhale air, the liver that filters the spoils of the everyday hunt, white corpuscles that attack infection. All this occurs parallel to, and in the absence of, any respite from what is going on outside us and despite us. But at the same time, in an increasingly accelerated, technological,virtual, robotized world, anatomical exposition re-solidifies reality around the verification of the senses, around error, around the degenerative aspect of the body. And, as in all of Hirst’s work, it conveys, mirrors, and excavates life’s tortuous journey between fear and desire.”
    M. Codognato, Damien Hirst, Museo Archelogico Nazionale Napoli, Naples, 2005, p. 46

  • Artist Biography

    Damien Hirst

    British • 1965

    There is no other contemporary artist as maverick to the art market as Damien Hirst. Foremost among the Young British Artists (YBAs), a group of provocative artists who graduated from Goldsmiths, University of London in the late 1980s, Hirst ascended to stardom by making objects that shocked and appalled, and that possessed conceptual depth in both profound and prankish ways.

    Regarded as Britain's most notorious living artist, Hirst has studded human skulls in diamonds and submerged sharks, sheep and other dead animals in custom vitrines of formaldehyde. In tandem with Cheyenne Westphal, now Chairman of Phillips, Hirst controversially staged an entire exhibition directly for auction with 2008's "Beautiful Inside My Head Forever," which collectively totalled £111 million ($198 million).

    Hirst remains genre-defying and creates everything from sculpture, prints, works on paper and paintings to installation and objects. Another of his most celebrated series, the 'Pill Cabinets' present rows of intricate pills, cast individually in metal, plaster and resin, in sterilized glass and steel containers; Phillips New York showed the largest of these pieces ever exhibited in the United States, The Void, 2000, in May 2017.

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299

Virgin (exposed)

2005
Acrylic on resin.
24 x 5 1/8 x 11 1/8 in. (61 x 13 x 28.3 cm).
Signed “Damien Hirst” and numbered of 15 on the base. This work is from an edition of 15.

Estimate
£180,000 - 250,000 ‡ ♠

Sold for £356,000

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

Evening Sale
13 October 2007, 4pm
London