A series of Damien Hirst paintings are on display for the first time in Austria, at the Arnulf Rainer Museum in the Frauenbad Baden. Works from Damien Hirst’s 'Two Weeks One Summer' series – made between 2008 and 2012 – are shown alongside Arnulf Rainer’s finger paintings, actionistic Face Farces and contemplative over-paintings from the early 1950s.
Curator Rudi Fuchs has brought together a carefully assembled group of over eighty works in the exhibition, which is entitled: 'DAMIEN HIRST / ARNULF RAINER' (commotion)'. The works of Rainer and Hirst continuously alternate thereby developing a creative dialogue, similar to that of a literary narrative or musical composition.
Hirst’s paintings were realised in a studio in the garden of his Devon home. By way of contrast to his previous series, they were made outside of the studio system the artist developed in the early 90s. In a marked departure from his spot and spin paintings, Hirst found that these new works allowed a far more personal approach: “All that expression – doubts, fears, everything – can come out in this arena.”
In the 1950s Arnulf Rainer formulated articles and propositions that contained what he considered to be painting’s central task: to be a “visual ‘form’ of spiritual consciousness”. He went on to develop a concern with the proximity and consequences of life and death. In his painstakingly calculated installations and assemblages Hirst's work is also tightly bound to concerns of growth and decay. The two artists are ultimately united in their shared belief that painting, as one of the most complex means of artistic expression, forces the painter to be truthful.