An artist like Damien Hirst will always be polarizing simply because of the work or “work” he produces. For me it’s been a while since he’s made something really great though his newest project, the Black Scalpel Cityscapes, are certainly eye-catching with quite a bit of poignancy.
The Black Scalpel Cityscapes make reference to the military procedure of ‘surgical bombing’ or ‘surgical strikes’, commonly used in modern warfare, which aims to limit collateral damage by targeting precise areas for destruction. The suggestion of a remote, digital conflict inevitably reduces the tragic and devastating realities of war. In a similarly misleading manner, the perspective of an aerial map minimises the life beneath it to a series of detached systems and patterns of collective existence.
It’s a beautifully crafted way of speaking about numerous topics that all have quite a lot of baggage. Off the top of my head I can’t think of any of his work that’s actually had this sort of depth. The question I’ve been asking myself is this: If another artist had done this, would the world care as much?
You can read and see more at the White Cube gallery site.