Exhibition DAMIEN HIRST / ARNULF RAINER at Arnulf Rainer Museum Baden
A series of paintings by British artist Damien Hirst are to be shown for the first time in Austria, at The Arnulf Rainer Museum in the Frauenbad Baden. Hirst’s series Two Weeks One Summer will come together with selected works by Arnulf Rainer. Damien Hirst’s expressionistic and self-reflective still lifes from 2008 to 2012 will encounter Arnulf Rainer’s energetic finger paintings, actionistic Face Farces and contemplative over-paintings from the early 1950s.
The exhibition DAMIEN HIRST / ARNULF RAINER generates an artistic dialogue between two of the most influential artists alive today. Both Arnulf Rainer (b.1929) and Damien Hirst (b.1965) work consistently at expanding their own artistic vocabulary but nevertheless discover that they have in common a recognition of the regenerative power of painting.
The Dutch curator of the exhibition, Rudi Fuchs, is regarded as one of the most internationally recognised exhibition makers. He has composed a carefully assembled group of eighty works of the two exceptional artists for the architecturally demanding space. The works of Arnulf Rainer and Damien Hirst continuously alternate and, as in a literary narrative or musical composition, they thereby develop a creative dialogue.
Hirst’s paintings were realised in a studio in the garden of his home in Devon, England. In complete contrast to the large-scale sculptural and serial works created with the help of assistants, in this series the artist became directly and personally involved with one of the fundamental genres and mediums of art history: still life and oil painting.
Between 2008 and 2012 Damien Hirst attempted to disengage from the influence of his obligations and other distractions so as to get closer to the essence of his art by returning to painterly techniques. The result is the powerful series of paintings, Two Weeks One Summer, comprising more than forty works which have only been shown once before, in an exhibition at White Cube gallery London.
Damien Hirst and Arnulf Rainer are akin to each other in their attitude to art in general and to painting in particular. In the 1950s Arnulf Rainer formulated articles and propositions that contain what, for him, was painting’s central task: to be a “visual ‘form’ of spiritual consciousness”. He then went on to an intensive concern with the proximity and consequences of life and death. In his painstakingly calculated installations and assemblages Damien Hirst is also concerned with the big issues of growth and decay. The two artists are bound by the insight that painting, as the most complex means of artistic expression, forces the painter to be truthful.
DAMIEN HIRST / ARNULF RAINER
April 25. - Oct.5.2014