Published  25/09/2003

Thirst for Hirst

Damien Hirst's new exhibition 'Romance in the Age of Uncertainty' - open until 19 October 2003 at White Cube (London N1) - is undoubtedly drawing the crowds. There is a lot of God around. With religion here goes death, religiously violent, of a Roman Catholic persuasion. The twelve display cases at the centre of the show relate to the lives of the twelve Apostles. Hirst is aware of the fact that 11 of the 12 apostles died violently. Only John, it seems survived long enough for his case to be overloaded with mnemonic relics. Hirst returns here to his long-term preoccupation with death. The butterfly is back, this time in the form of oval panels constructed entirely of wings. In a show, entitled 'Romance in the Age of Uncertainty', these wing-wongs remind us still of Arcadia from which man was evicted.

Some critics of the show have talked of Damien Hirst's 'recent conversion to God'. Actually, no. His first communion must have been at the age of eight or so. He has long been interested in God and is trying here, surely, to recreate Christian iconography. Flights to St Petersburg are easy nowadays and I feel sure that Boris Sapunov at the Hermitage could offer a welcoming seat…

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