Exhibitions: Romance in the Age of Uncertainty
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White Cube, Hoxton Square,
9 September 2003 –
18 October 2003
This key exhibition was Hirst’s first solo show of new work in London since 1995, White Cube.
Installation view. Photographed by Stephen White, courtesy of White Cube © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2012
The exhibition consisted of Hirst’s most extensive exploration of the role of religion to date. As part of a major installation, a suite of twelve instrument cabinets (2002-2003), each relating to an Apostle and his cause of death or martyrdom, was hung on the gallery walls. The contents of the cabinets included cluttered archaic medical apparatus and religious paraphernalia. Positioned on the floor in front of each cabinet was a corresponding formaldehyde work. Entitled ‘Jesus and The Disciples’ (1994-2003), the twelve steel and glass tanks each contained a severed bull’s or sheep’s head. Prominently positioned at one end of the room, a work entitled ‘The Ascension of Jesus’ (2002-2003) was installed; in this, a taxidermy dove in flight was positioned over a pristine white, powder-coated cabinet and empty shelving. A tank containing only formaldehyde, named ‘Jesus and The Disciples (Jesus)’ (1994-2003), was placed in front of the cabinet.
Alongside ‘Natural History’ works such as a bisected calf entitled ‘The Prodigal Son’ (1994), two new series were unveiled: the ‘Kaleidoscope’ paintings (‘Rapture’ (2003) and ‘Devotion’ (2003)); and the fly paintings. The fly paintings were introduced by way of ‘The Cancer Chronicles’, a set of thirteen canvases providing an apocalyptic vision of modern-day plagues.
Hirst’s bronze sculpture ‘Charity’ (2002-2003) was installed outside the gallery in Hoxton Square for the duration of the exhibition.
On the occasion of ‘Romance in the Age of Uncertainty’, a catalogue was published containing an essay by Annushka Shani (Jay Jopling/White Cube, 2003). Hirst also produced a book of thirteen poems, ‘The Cancer Chronicles’, to accompany the exhibition (Other Criteria, 2003).