Despite being 53 years old, Damien Hirst seems intent on clinging onto the enfant terrible status he picked up during the champagne-fuelled hedonism of the art world’s mid-90s boom. The perma-controversial YBA star has recently hit headlines again after the re-unveiling of a public artwork in Doha, Qatar this weekend.
Visitors to the Sidra Medicine Hospital – a suitably expensive and expansive medical complex that cost a rumoured £6bn to build – are immediately greeted by the sight of a 14 strong batch of giant bronze sculptures which join the dots between conception and birth.
The work, titled The Miraculous Journey culminates in a massive newborn, sat right there on the hospital grounds. It joins a large body of contemporary art from around the world which will reside in and around the medical centre.
Given that the relationship between life and death, and the divide between the two is thinner than most of us would dare admit, are arguably the great themes of Damien Hirst’s body of work, perhaps it isn’t surprising that the noted-boundary pusher would push boundaries when it comes to displaying work in an environment where life and death are inevitable and inescapable.
But then again, this is Qatar, and when the work was first revealed in 2013 it was nearly immediately covered up after a social media outrage. Fans of the shark-loving formaldehyde-fan who find themselves needing medical assistance in Doha will be hoping that The Miraculous Journey lasts a little longer this time around.