Theories, Models, Methods, Approaches, Assumptions, Results and Findings

23 September 2000 – 16 December 2000
Solo Exhibition. Gagosian Gallery, West 24th Street, New York, United States.

Photographed by Rob McKeever, courtesy of Gagosian Gallery © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2012

In the paintings and sixteen new sculptural works presented, Hirst returned to the thematic exchange between art, life and science. Key pieces included in the exhibition were Hirst’s first monumental painted bronze sculpture, based on an anatomical model, ‘Hymn’ (2000), and his earliest stainless-steel pill cabinet, ‘The Void’ (2000). On the occasion of the exhibition, Hirst hung the walls of the gallery space with graph paper, magnified in scale. 

Also unveiled was a collection of four new ‘Mental Escapology’ works. The ebullient colour palette of an earlier work in the series, ‘Loving in a World of Desire’ (1996), was replaced with steel and monochrome white in the works presented in ‘Theories, Models, Methods’. These include ‘The History of Pain’ (1999), in which a white beach ball is kept afloat above Sabatier knives, and ‘Theories, Models, Methods, Approaches, Assumptions, Results and Findings’ (2000), which consists of two rectangular vitrines encasing blowers and ping-pong balls. The ping-pong balls were described by Hirst as “almost like white blood cells.”[1]

Nine vitrine works were exhibited, including the pair of submerged gynaecology rooms with live fish, ‘Love Lost’ (2000) and ‘Lost Love’ (2000). Elsewhere physical representations of the human body, previously avoided in the vitrines, were incorporated. In ‘A Way of Seeing’ (2000) an animatronic man is seen to be studying a series of slides in a microscope.

Hirst stated on the occasion of the exhibition: “I don’t think my curiosity has, or will ever change, so it’s fundamentally childish or childlike, I don’t mind either.”[2]

The hardback catalogue accompanying the exhibition included essays by Gordon Burn and Dr George Poste, Chairman of the US Department of Defense Science Board, on Bioterrorism (Gagosian Gallery/Other Criteria, 2000). The book also contained a series of scientific essays from academic journals corresponding to particular works exhibited.

[1] Damien Hirst cited in Damien Hirst and Gordon Burn, ‘On the Way to Work’ (Faber and Faber, 2001), 144

[2] Damien Hirst cited in ‘Extract from a conversation with Dr Gordon Lebrun 6.9.00’, ‘Theories, Models, Methods, Approaches, Assumptions, Results and Findings’, (Other Criteria/Gagosian Gallery), 148