Exhibitions: Gambler

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Building One, London, United Kingdom

1 July 1990

Group Exhibition

Following the success of ‘Modern Medicine’, Billee Sellman and Carl Freedman organised a second show in the same disused factory. Hirst withdrew his curatorial involvement, but exhibited for the first time his seminal fly work ‘A Thousand Years’ (1990).

Installation view. Courtesy of White Cube © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2012

At the time of the exhibition, Hirst described ‘Gambler’ as being: “Just when people start doing things for themselves. It’s just getting rid of that thing in your mind that’s saying, ‘I can’t do that.’”[1] In order to fabricate ‘A Thousand Years’ and his second fly work, ‘A Hundred Years’ (1990) in time for the exhibition Hirst borrowed money from fellow artists and friends Angus Fairhurst and Dominic Denis. He also exhibited two formica and MDF ‘Medicine Cabinets’: ‘Heckler’ (1990-1991); and ‘Cosh’ (1990-1991). ‘A Thousand Years’ was bought by Charles Saatchi after he visited the exhibition with his then wife, Doris.

Included alongside Hirst's work were a large series of Dominic Denis’s oil on canvas paintings, ‘Directions’ (1990), and a new series of Angus Fairhurst photographic works layered with gel. As with ‘Freeze’ and ‘Modern Medicine’, the work shown was characterised by the varied approaches of the artists. Hirst explained of their time as students: “Artists found that there wasn’t a strict limit to things at Goldsmiths. Like growing a plant for a year and taking it along to seminars, you only have to talk about it for a while to realise it’s an interesting idea.”[2] 

On the occasion of the exhibition, an edition of 500 colour catalogues was produced, which included interviews between each artist and Liam Gillick. 

The artists featured in ‘Gambler’ were Dan Bonsall, Dominic Denis, Steve di Benedetto, Angus Fairhurst, Tim Head, Damien Hirst and Michael Scott.



[1] Damien Hirst cited in Liam Gillick, ‘Interview’, ‘Gambler’ (1990), unpag.

[2] ibid.