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Does Greece hold a new religion??
New Religion is Damien Hirst's first solo exhibition in Greece. Hirst triggers mechanisms of thoughts and questions related to the most basic insecurities and fears of human existence, such as pain, death and salvation…


Published on Thursday, May 19th, 2011
The Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art in Thessaloniki, Greece, presents Damien Hirst (Bristol, 1965)'s New Religion curated by Artemis Potamianou and co-organized by the British Council and Paul Stolper Gallery in London.
Once again Damien Hirst analyzes the relationship undergoing between life and death. New Religion deals with the themes of religion and medicine through a series of recurring symbols such as crosses, skulls, chalices, doves that blend ambiguously with drugs and surgical instruments, icons already known in previous works ("Paintings Pill”, “Medical Cabinets”, “Pharmacy”).
The project of New Religion was born in Hirst's restaurant, called "The Pharmacy" and opened in London in the early nineties. The walls of the room were decorated with six silver prints, showing images of drugs and pills identified with biblical episodes. During more than ten years the project has expanded, till the preparation of New Religion at Paul Stolper Gallery in London. The exhibition includes about thirty works together with prints, photographs, sculptures and installations that can be found on show, all related to episodes and characters of the Old and New Testaments. Thus the artist brings together science and aesthetics, to create a new religion with a new iconographic work, that takes the form of medicine. Religion has always promised eternal life, but today it seems that it is science itself the responsible factor for prolonging life, promising the end of pain to mankind and opening a new way for salvation.


A Crucifix studded with pharmaceuticals is flanked by a host that, in fact, is a huge pill of paracetamol. Playing on the shape, round and white, the Eucharist is revealed in its nature as an analgesic, only useful to take away the pain.
Religion and science are only temporary answers. What remains unchanged is always the theme of death. Thus not even science can save the man. A bitter attack that is reflected in the silk screen "The Last Supper", a mapping of the presence of nuclear warheads in the world. Thirteen states possessing nuclear arsenals, to each one of them match the name of an Apostle: Christ is Israel and He is surrounded by the apostles.


Best known for the series "Natural History" (dead animals preserved in formalin), Damien Hirst is the best known since the 90s as a representative exponent of Young British Art. The artist moves between action painting, pop art, installation and sculpture, he often made headlines with works widely discussed that have reached record prices.
The exhibition, now for the first time in Greece, has previously been shown at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, the Palazzo Ca’ Pesaro in Venice and the Rogaland Museum in Stavanger, Norway.

curated by roberta fratini
show visited on May 15th, 2011

From April 7th to July 31st
Damien Hirst, "New Religion"
Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art
154 Egnatia Street 546 36 Thessaloniki
Opening Hours: Tuesdays to Saturdays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.


Reserved Reproduction