The Lovers (The Committed Lovers) (The Spontaneous Lovers) (The Detached Lovers) (The Compromising Lovers), 1991



The Lovers (The Committed Lovers) (The Spontaneous Lovers) (The Detached Lovers) (The Compromising Lovers)
Four parts, each: 1524 x 1016 x 229 mm | 60 x 40 x 9 in
Glass, painted MDF, beech, steel, silicone, assorted glass jars, cows’ organs and formaldehyde solution
Image: Courtesy of White Cube © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2012


Group Exhibition - 2011
Guggenheim, Bilbao, Spain
Group Exhibition - 1992
Saatchi Collection, London, United Kingdom
Group Exhibition - 1991
Cornerhouse, Manchester, United Kingdom


“I was just thinking about relationships.”[1]

Originally shown at The Cornerhouse, Manchester, in 1991, ‘The Lovers’, contains a selection of the internal organs of eight cows, displayed in formaldehyde-filled specimen jars across four cabinets. Hirst explains the work in conceptually similar terms to ‘Mother and Child Divided’ (1993), ‘The Lovers’ takes as its subject the complexities of relationships and the difficulties inherent in attempting to depict them.[2]

It belongs to Hirst's early series 'Internal Affairs'. Many of the works in the series were exhibited in Hirst’s first solo show in a public gallery – also called ‘Internal Affairs’ – at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, 1991. Describing the series as a means of, ‘looking into myself, to try to work out why my body is separated from my mind or if indeed it is’, it contains some of Hirst’s most personal works.[3] Unlike most of his other series, ‘Internal Affairs’ contains works made in a variety of mediums. As the artist explained in 1991: “I thought the ideas involved in ‘Internal Affairs’ needed to be realized in more than one sculpture. It had to be approached from different angles.”[4] The series includes the vitrine ‘The Acquired Inability to Escape’ (1991), and the ping-pong ball piece, ‘I Want to Spend the Rest of My Life Everywhere, with Everyone, One to One, Always, Forever, Now’ (1991).

[1] Damien Hirst cited in ‘Like People, Like Flies: Damien Hirst Interviewed’, Mirta D’Argenzio, ‘The Agony and the Ecstasy: Selected Works from 1989–2004’ (Electa Napoli, 2004), 138

[2] ibid., 138–145

[3] Damien Hirst cited in ‘Damien Hirst & Sophie Calle’, ‘Internal Affairs’ (ICA/Jay Jopling, 1991), unpag.

[4] ibid.