Some Comfort Gained from the Acceptance of the Inherent Lies in Everything, 1996



Some Comfort Gained from the Acceptance of the Inherent Lies in Everything
Twelve parts, each: 2170 x 1020 x 530 mm | 85.4 x 40.2 x 20.9 in
Glass, painted steel, silicone, acrylic, plastic cable ties, cows and formaldehyde solution
Image: Photographed by Stephen White © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2012


Group Exhibition - 2006
Palazzo Grassi, Venice, Italy
Solo Exhibition - 2004
Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli, Naples, Italy
Group Exhibition - 1997
Royal Academy of Arts, London, United Kingdom
Solo Exhibition - 1996
Gagosian Gallery, Wooster Street, New York, United States


‘Some Comfort Gained from the Acceptance of the Inherent Lies in Everything’ (1996) consists of a cow and a bull cut vertically into twelve vertical sections. The sections of each animal are held in individual steel and glass tanks of formaldehyde solution, the two cows face in opposite directions and the parts from their bodies are alternated resulting in a twelve piece work with eight legs and a head at either end.

The work is an important early piece from the ‘Natural History’ series. First exhibited as part of ‘No Sense of Absolute Corruption’, Hirst’s major exhibition of new works at Gagosian Gallery, New York, in 1996, the piece went onto be included in ‘Sensation’ (Royal Academy, London, 1997) and Hirst’s first retrospective ‘The Agony and the Ecstasy’ in 2004 (Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Naples).

‘Some Comfort Gained from the Acceptance of the Inherent Lies in Everything’ is conceptually similar to ‘Mother and Child (Divided)’ (1993). In both works, Hirst addresses the difficulties involved in “scientifically trying to solve problems when you are dealing with emotional issues”. Of the splicing together of the two animals in the later work, Hirst explains: “You could say it was love. You could say: I am going to make these two cows into one. Obviously, it is dead and it is very brutal … But the violence of that I think is the violence in any sort of relationship, like trying to keep a relationship together when it is falling apart […] the title was just accepting that it is never going to work, on some level […] In the words lie the inherent lies […] The truth seems to be a kind of impossible search, really. Lies are a massive part of life.”[1]

The title also serves to perfectly reinforce a central concern of the ‘Natural History’ series: ““That failure of trying so hard to do something that you destroy the thing that you’re trying to preserve”.[2] As Hirst explained in 1996 on the occasion of ‘No Sense of Absolute Corruption’: “If you can accept that something impossible you want to do will fail, you can move forward.”[3]

[1] Damien Hirst cited in ‘Like People, Like Flies: Damien Hirst Interviewed’, Mirta D’Argenzio, ‘The Agony and the Ecstasy: Selected Works from 1989–2004’ (Electa Napoli, 2004), 145

[2] Damien Hirst cited in Damien Hirst, ‘I Want to Spend the Rest of My Life Everywhere, with Everyone, One to One, Always, Forever, Now’ (Booth-Clibborn Editions; Reduced edition, 2005), 296

[3] Damien Hirst cited in ‘An Interview with Damien Hirst’, Stuart Morgan, ‘No Sense of Absolute Corruption’ (Gagosian Gallery, 1996),  20-21