The exhibition demonstrates his ongoing obsession with the most dark and real areas of life, and the reason why he attracts so much controversy.
From shock-inducing maggots and bleeding cows heads, to floating beach balls and stinking giant ash trays; the exhibition is a bombardment on the senses.
It is interesting to perceive Hirst’s interest in values and beliefs, religion and science, appreciation for colour and nature, and his all too well-documented obsession with death and money in one all-encompassing exhibition.
Whatever you like, their is something here for you. Shock factor? You will not be disappointed; from clowns discussing death, to dead animals in all stages of maggot-covered decay. Colour? Hirst’s spin and spot paintings which celebrate and control colour, respectively. Nature lovers? Hirst exhibits the cycle of life in an incredible way (think, pupa to live butterflies), and his works, such as “Doorways to the Kingdom of Heaven” which is a triptych of stained glass-looking windows made of butterfly wings, appreciate the beauty of nature.
Throughout the eleven rooms, there was the niggling quotes of recent Hirst-haters in the back of my mind. I was torn between mulling over the ongoing “What is art?” debate; especially when I saw an escaped fly from “A Thousand Years” in a different room, and feeling equally scathing towards quotes such as “I try and say something and then deny it”.
Go and see what you make of the exhibition and Damien Hirst, "one of the most important and highly regarded artists of his generation", for yourself - in the Tate Modern until September 9th 2012.
(Written for Insider London ages ago - http://insidertrends.squarespace.com/insider-london-tours-blog/)