The Abyss, 2008



The Abyss
2361 x 4702 x 100 mm | 93 x 185.1 x 3.9 in
Glass, stainless steel, steel, nickel, aluminium, cigarettes, cigars, lipstick and ash
Image: Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2012


Solo Exhibition - 2013
ALRIWAQ, Qatar Museums Authority, Doha, Qatar
Solo Exhibition - 2012
Tate Modern, London, United Kingdom
Solo Exhibition - 2008
Sotheby’s, London, United Kingdom


“From the point you light one to when you stub it out, it’s death.”[1]

‘The Abyss’, a stainless steel cabinet containing neatly arranged rows of used cigar and cigarette butts, was auctioned at ‘Beautiful Inside My Head Forever’ at Sotheby’s in 2008. The work incorporates approximately 12,000 cigarettes.

A common reference point in his work, Hirst has described smoking as, “like a very diluted way of facing death, constantly.”[2]

[1] Damien Hirst cited in ‘Conversations: Damien Hirst’ (The Idler 10, 1995),

[2] Damien Hirst cited in Damien Hirst and Gordon Burn, ‘On the Way to Work’ (Faber and Faber, 2001), 198