Corpus: Drawings 1981 – 2006

14 September 2006 – 28 October 2006
Solo Exhibition. Gagosian Gallery, Madison Avenue, New York, United States.

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

‘Corpus’ followed a smaller exhibition of Hirst’s drawings presented in 2003 on the invitation of the twenty-fifth Ljubljana International Biennale of Graphic Arts, ‘From the Cradle to the Grave’.

The drawings included in the exhibition varied from sketches Hirst made as a teenager (‘Emma’ (1983)) to detailed plans and dimension notes for major works. Some relate to pieces realised, such as the preparatory sketches for the first ‘Natural History’ work, ‘Isolated Elements Swimming in the Same Direction for the Purpose of Understanding (Left)’ (1991), whilst others include ideas for works as yet unfabricated, such as ‘The Last Supper with Skeletons’ (2003).  

The exhibition was an affirmation of the importance of drawing both to Hirst’s thought processes and as an artistic pursuit in itself. In annotations on plans for a quadrisected cow sculpture, ‘Can’t See the Wood for the Trees’ (1996), he writes, “constructing spaces, drawings for sculptures, ideas become reality, making spaces, ideas made real, in search of reality, looking for Mr. Goodsex, nothing is a problem for me, he tried to internalise everything, from head to paper.”[1]

An extensive publication of Hirst’s drawings accompanied the exhibition, including a conversation between the artist and philosopher John Gray, and an essay by historian Simon Baker (Gagosian Gallery/Other Criteria, 2006).