News: 2014

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Hirst self-portraits on display alongside Bacon, Koons and Picasso at Ordovas gallery

14 October 2014

'Self' (14th October - 13th December) investigates developments in self-portraiture in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries through the work of the four artists.

Photography by Mike Bruce, courtesy Ordovas

Damien Hirst, 'With Dead Head' (1991) © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd, all rights reserved. DACS 2014

Francis Bacon, 'Self-Portrait' (1969) © The Estate of Francis Bacon. All rights reserved, DACS 2014

Pablo Picasso, 'Self-Portrait (Yo Picasso)' (1901) © Succession Picasso/DACS, London 2014

'Self' opens on 14th October at Ordovas gallery. The exhibition investigates the varying interpretations of self-portraiture by four of the greatest artists of the twentieth century: Francis Bacon, Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons and Pablo Picasso. The show examines the ways in which self-portraiture has been used as a vehicle for communication and celebration, as well as memento mori, and the impact of major twentieth century developments such as the use of photography.

'Self' includes a major self-portrait study made in 1901 by Picasso, which has never before been publicly exhibited, and one of the first studies of a single head ever painted by Bacon, which hasn't been shown in London for almost 50 years. Koons' bust from his celebrated 'Made in Heaven' is also on display alongside two Hirst works: 'With Dead Head' (1991), a photographic work showing a teenage Hirst with a severed head, pictured in the Leeds anatomy school he used to visit to make life drawings, and 'Self Portrait R.' (2008), a lightbox and x-ray of the artist's head. Both works are expressions of Hirst's life-long fascination in the attempt to comprehend death in life.

A conversation between Hirst and Koons on the subject is published in the exhibition catalogue.