Between April 11 and 14, Damien hirst held the show in its own way, direct, corrosive, funny, inflated, once again anticipating the news, upsetting habits. From that Psychiatrist’s Couch is a self-interview on his Instagram which has 680,000 subscribers.
The king of the contemporary British scene has stood in front of his computer screen and calmly answers his “fans” who ask him 98 questions. Frequently admiring, rarely vacant or basely material questions about the recent dismissal of part of his teams, almost always questions from fans. Little aggression on their part, no annoyance on his part. The questions are read in full, the Instagram account of their authors is displayed at the same time. Damien Hirst’s answers burst out, at his usual machine gun rate.
This brilliant exercise in communication is played – in English – in four chapters. Four videos with a single character, from 10 to 14 minutes, whose audience exploded first (154,000 views, 535 comments, for chapter 1), before decreasing (72,254 views and 258 comments for chapter 2) for stay around an honorable cruising speed (46,874 and 40,342 views for chapters 3 and 4).
This interview is above all an invitation to Damien Hirst’s workshop. Or rather in one of his workshops, on the London Walk near Hammersmith. Covered in fresh stains, from sneakers to T-shirt, this is where he received Le Figaro last November to present his unexpected return to impressionism but with a very contemporary engine that still resembles the father of “Spot Paintings”. He looked radiant like a student at the Beaux-Arts. Rich “wonder boy” of the YBA generation (Young British Artist), he changed course at 54 and launched into painting, almost on his own.
Warholian celebrity fractions
Today, looking more tired, but still lively, Damien Hirst takes control again. The world, confined, lives outside through its computer screens. So this is where this strategist is posted, both close and despite everything inaccessible, then he reads one by one and, no doubt, chooses the questions to which he will answer. All its invisible interlocutors thus have their Warholian celebrity fractions. There is a great intelligence in this artist who has managed to divert the boom of the contemporary art market to his advantage, to avoid that his avant-garde talent enriches only the others, to make sure that always the news treats him like rock star, phenomenon or king.
Question 1 refers to one of his pieces of bravery: “How many diamonds in the Diamond Skull? Are they authentic?“(For the Love of God is a sculpture by Damien Hirst made in 2007, the platinum molding of an 18th century skull encrusted with diamonds, editor’s note). “There are 8621 diamonds, all of very good quality“, Replies the artist. What relationship does he have with cinema? “Dead Ringers ((False pretenses, 1988) by the Canadian filmmaker David Cronenberg gave me the idea of my Medicine Cabinets, especially the surgical objects invented by the doctor played by Jeremy Irons ”. Is boredom the friend of creativity? “Probably yes. But inaction is his enemy. Boredom is something else. As soon as I get bored, I’m full of ideas ”.
The interview sometimes slips into the exercise of improbable style. “If you were your own shrink, what question would you ask yourself?”. A slight emptiness, then a single word in the form of a gag: “WHY ????Laughs. What advice would he give to a young artist? “Make larger pictures, to have this distance, this look. Believe in. Everything is a question of self-confidence, of faith. If you believe in yourself, it makes others believe in you. Never pretend to know something, if you don’t know it. It always shows “. All Damien Hirst is in this answer, in this raw formula of “Working class hero”, as honest as sincere, who drew, poor child, on the back of the envelopes.
The naked body as a clown
It takes anecdotes to dress a legend. These four videos are full of them. “What surprises people the most about you?” “I don’t drink, more alcohol, it often disappoints a lot of people”, replies the ex Bad Boy from London’s red light districts. We always prefer bad boys. He tells of his friendship for Leigh Bowery, Australian performer of London nights, died of AIDS on December 31, 1994 at 33 years old – “God bless him!”– of which Lucian Freud painted the powerful body. And how, with him, he painted his naked body like a clown, sex included “Spot painting” blue (The Spot paintings form one of his most famous series, Editor’s note).
He tells without pretense, in chapter 2, his friendship sketched with Alexander McQueen, the brilliant English fashion designer who committed suicide on February 11, 2010, at the age of 40 and to whom the Victoria & Albert Museum devoted the most extraordinary posthumous retrospective that was in the summer of 2015. “Yes, I was friends with Alexander McQueen. But when I met him, I was drinking like a hole, I was in coke like crazy, he was starting his career. Then he entered this coke and alcohol period. While I was out of it. So we missed it like that. A lovely guy, total sweetheart“
Because it is time for his return to painting, that it stains his T-shirt, his jeans, his sneakers, his shrink couch, he responds with pleasure to the technical questions of palette. “I like all the colors. I’ve had a problem with purple for a long time, I don’t know why. I love oil paint, more malleable, the colors are brighter ”said this fan ofRembrandt which he much prefers to Dalí.
the departure to the desert of Saint Jerome
He likes “The rainbows in the sky, not in the painting” So he didn’t. “Weird that these paintings (spring flowering, intended for the Cartier Foundation, note) go so well when the world is on fire. I don’t want to be forgotten, I don’t know why. But I’m not a fan of the cursed side of Van Gogh “, says Damien Hirst who, after his very turbulent young years, with all-out artistic choices,discovered minimalism at Goldsmith College London “.
“How much for the sofa?Asked a fetishist or a collector. “It is not for sale. Find one and drop some paint on it!” End of online auctions. At the Cartier Foundation in Paris, Damien Hirst was to reveal to the world, in mid-June, this series of very large formats invaded by pink spots. They combine the celebration of spring, the “Sakura” of the Japanese and their cherry blossoms, and his own return to the brush. After twenty years of studio work, it is, for this prolific artist and entrepreneur, almost the departure to the desert of Saint Jerome.
When will we see them? The exhibition “Damien Hirst, Cherry blossomsWas announced from June 14 to November 8. “We are in full discussions with Damien Hirst, but it is obvious, due to the confinement, then the progressive deconfinement, that his exhibition will be postponed, perhaps to the fall, or even to the next year “, confirms Hervé Chandès, director of Cartier Foundation.
“Damien will decide shortly. In the meantime, we will extend the exhibition “Claudia Andujar” this summer. The deaths of two Yanomani Indians contaminated by whites, gold hunters and other adventurers, make it terribly current. All the questions posed by our contemporary world are already there, in this wonderful work carried out for over fifteen years by the great Brazilian artist Claudia Andujar. The artists sense the importance of things …“