Heaven Above, Hell Below

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At the Damien Hirst show I was struck most by perhaps the smallest and least conspicuous piece in the exhibition, a small ‘pills and dead flies’ canvas in White Cube’s reception. I think this demonstrates what I like most about Damien’s work, the economy of some of his ideas – I mean what two small objects of more or less the same size could be more different than a perfectly-formed white pill and a dead fly?

The rest of the show aims to “examine, dissect and recast the story of Jesus and the Disciples” but to me all these cases full of blood, guts and medical instruments always look as though Hirst is doing Francis Bacon in the style of Joseph Beuys, his own version of One Song to the Tune of Another. The butterfies are always lovely though.

We did get quite excited about all the kitchen knives that Hirst (or perhaps his assistants) used to stab the four cows heads in formaldehyde tanks upstairs (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John). I’m pretty sure these were all Henckels knives. Henckels, or Zwilling J.A. Henckels, have one of the oldest trademarks in the world, a ‘twin’ symbol and as Tim has noted Damien definitely has a thing about twins.