Damien Hirst

English (born 1965)
Damien Hirst Away from the Flock 1994 © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2018.


Born 1965
Nationality English

Hirst was born in Bristol and grew up in Leeds, moving to London in 1986 to study at Goldsmith's College. While still a student, he organised the enormously successful 'Freeze' exhibition, which featured his own work as well as that of fellow students. This brought him to the attention of the highly influential art collector Charles Saatchi and is generally seen as the starting point for the 'Young British Artists' movement. The central theme of Hirst's work is mortality. He is best known for the 'Natural History' series of works, in which dead animals are preserved in tanks. He is also interested in medical paraphernalia and has produced series of spot paintings, spin paintings and steel and glass cases.

Glossary terms

  • A group of conceptual British artists, mainly born in the 1960s, first gathered together by Damien Hirst in 1988 to take part in an exhibition called Freeze. The phenomenon is also known as ‘Britart’.

  • Founded in 1984, The Turner Prize is awarded annually to the ‘most outstanding contribution’ to British art that took place in the last year.

  • A term coined by Marcel Duchamp in 1913 to describe an existing object that is taken from its original context and regarded as a work of art. The term is broadly applied today to any art that transforms ordinary objects into artworks through a variety of means.