Like it or not, this year so far has been the year of Hirst. His excellent retrospective at the Tate Modern is still drawing huge crowds, his spot paintings took over the Gagosian galleries and he’s announced his own gallery in Vauxhall.
The White Cube has now jumped on the bandwagon with a display in their newest and largest space in Bermondsey of Hirst’s latest works. The exhibition starts promisingly with The Battle between Good and Evil. Two floating balls continuously fight it out, buffeted by the winds generated by a large fan. Granted it’s an upscaling of his earlier work involving a hair dryer and a ping pong ball, but it’s an improvement that will have you wondering how the balls stay aloft.
The centrepiece of the exhibition is a room full of Hirst’s paintings – that’s right, no dead animals, no large-scale installations, just a bunch of humble paintings. This is not a complete divergence from his earlier works, as his popular motifs or repeating spots and butterflies are present. He does seem to have found a new muse in parrots, which feature prominently in most of his works here.
Hirst isn’t a particularly talented painter and these works are very repetitive. After you’ve seen half of the gallery, the other half feels like a chore. Even when he tries to shock us with jars containing conjoined foetuses it all seems rather tame considering what he’s shown us before.
Hirst has matured as an artist, but in this maturity he’s lost the edge that made him stand out.
Damien Hirst: Two Weeks One Summer is on display at the White Cube gallery, Bermondsey until 8 July. Entrance is free.