Posted on June 24, 2013

Under the patronage of Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa Bint Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, Qatar Museums Authority is pleased to announce Relics, the first solo exhibition in the Middle East dedicated to the iconic British artist Damien Hirst. On view from October 10, 2013 till January 22, 2014, at ALRIWAQ DOHA exhibition space, Relics will present the largest collection of Hirst’s work ever assembled.

Damien Hirst

Relics spans over twenty-five years of Hirst’s artistic career and includes both iconic and previously unseen works. Stating, I’ve got an obsession with death, but I think it’s like a celebration of life rather than something morbid”, Hirst has remained dedicated to exploring the complex relationship between art, love, life and death. His instantly recognizable works include the Spot Paintings, the series of animals preserved in formaldehyde, and the diamond skull: For the Love of God (2007). His work bears testimony to his enduring fascination with the daily intrusion of death into life, and the inevitable decay of our bodies despite an increasingly unquestioning faith in pharmaceuticals. Often framing scenes within boxes, tanks or vitrines, he stages startling and thought-provoking situations in which life cycles play out, life wrestles with death, and cures become confused with illnesses.

Damien Hirst is widely regarded as one of the world’s most successful contemporary artists and has created some of the most seminal works in recent art history. Emerging from the Young British Artist (YBA) movement that originated in London in the late 1980s, he was part of a group which became renowned for their audacious and often shocking works, receiving international acclaim and succeeding in revitalizing the British art scene. As Jean Paul Engelen, Director of Public Art at the Qatar Museum Authority comments: “With his own artistic language Damien Hirst changed our perception of London and the UK. There are very few artists in history that have had such a profound impact on high and popular culture. QMA is extremely proud to make this exhibition with Damien.”

Believer - 2008 (Butterflies and household gloss on canvas)

The exhibition will be curated by high-profile writer, critic, and internationally renowned curator Francesco Bonami, currently Manilow Senior Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, and who has previously occupied a number of prestigious posts, including Artistic Director of the Venice Biennale in 2003.

Relics is part of a series of cultural projects initiated by QMA to promote and support local and international art production, foster appreciation and understanding of artistic practices, and create opportunities for cultural dialogue. It also aims to encourage local audiences, to take part in debates and discussions about the arts that can challenge our understanding and unveil new perspectives. On the occasion of the exhibition, Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa Bint Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani states: “Underpinning the work of the Qatar Museums Authority is our belief that art can open up new channels of communication between diverse nations, peoples and histories.”

For the Love of God - 2007 (Platinum, diamonds and human teeth)

Relics is part of Qatar UK 2013 Year of Culture. Inspired by the Qatar National Vision for 2030, Qatar UK 2013 celebrates and showcases the deep-rooted bilateral relations between Qatar and the UK. It aims not only to showcase each other’s culture and forge new partnerships in culture, education, research, but also to provide a platform on which to build new long-term relationships between institutions and local communities. 

The Immortal - 1997-2005 (Shark, steel, glass, silicone and formaldehyde solution)