The Triumph of Death Blossom, 2019
Photographed by Prudence Cuming


Damien Hirst’s new exhibition, Cherry Blossoms, will be exhibited at the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain in Paris from June 1, 2021 to January 2, 2022.

Cherry Blossoms will be Damien Hirst’s first museum exhibition in France. In Cherry Blossoms, Hirst reinterprets the tradition of landscape painting with a playful irony, bringing together the elements of abstraction with gesture through thick brush strokes, giant canvases completely covered with intense bright colors, with the transitions between figurative painting and abstraction, swathe the visitors in a wide landscape full of flowers. 

Cherry Blossoms is an attempt to overthrow the art movements that dominated the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries and present their commitment to these movements. The artist notes that in his studio in London, “diving into the paintings and completely blitzing them from one end to the other”. Hirst, who said he was working on multiple canvases at the same time and returned to these canvases that he kept nearby, again and again, even months after they were completed, devoted three years to this collection and finished his work in November 2020. Hirst also stated that thanks to the pandemic, he has a lot more time to live with the paintings, look at them and make sure everything is done. The collection consists of a total of 107 canvases, each of which has been reproduced in the exhibition catalogue, all of which are oversized single, two-piece, three-piece, four-piece and even six-piece.

View from Damien Hirst’s studio
Photograph by Prudence Cuming

The exhibition, which came to life when Hervé Chandès, director general of Fondation Cartier, invited Hirst to a meeting in London in 2019, includes thirty paintings selected by Hervé Chandès and Hirst himself. Canvases set in the space designed by Jean Nouvel draw visitors into paintings.

Damien Hirst in studio, 2019
© Damien Hirst and Science Ltd.
View from Damien Hirst’s studio
Photograph by Prudence Cuming
Cherry Blossom (detail),
2019 © Damien Hirst and
Science Ltd.

Damien Hirst said, “ The Cherry Blossoms are about beauty and life and death.  They’re extreme—there’s something almost tacky about them. Like Jackson Pollock twisted by love. They’re decorative but taken from nature. They’re about desire and how we process the things around us and what we turn them into, but also about the insane visual transience of beauty—a tree in full crazy blossom against a clear sky. It’s been so good to make them, to be completely lost in color and in paint in my studio. They’re garish and messy and fragile and about me moving away from Minimalism and the idea of an imaginary mechanical painter and that’s so exciting for me. ”  

Excitement’s Blossom, 2020
Photographed by Prudence
Cuming Associates.

Two films were produced for the exhibition in collaboration with Damien Hirst. The first medium-length film, shot in a short period of time, allows viewers to feel the ambience of the artist’s studio on the banks of the River Thames. The second film, shot in 360° and voiced by Damien Hirst, is about another studio. Both films will be available for viewing through online access throughout the exhibition.

Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain will also publish a book featuring all 107 paintings in the Cherry Blossoms collection and reproductions full of detail in their actual size. This catalog allows the reader to meet and mingle with this extraordinary collection that Damien Hirst has devoted her last three years, which is a genuine tribute to painting and colors. The content, prepared with the contributions of philosopher Emanuele Coccia, art historians Philippe Costamagna, Michio Hayashi, Gilda Williams and writer Alberto Manguel, evaluates Cherry Blossoms’ position in Damien Hirst’s works and examines their artistic, philosophical and literary echoes.