Published in conjunction with the exhibition by the same name, Damien Hirst – Relics is quite rightly a significant catalogue. Large format, hard cover and bold, the front cover shows a close up of The Immortal, one of the sharks in formaldehyde from the Natural History series
I’m a huge fan of art books. For me it’s a case of the bigger the better. I love turning the pages, seeing the art printed in colour on big pages and smelling the print. As an art student, catalogues were expensive, but they were a limited edition print and a replication of the exhibition to collect, keep and show off. It was also a kind of sign of respect to the artist to acquire this piece of the exhibition, especially when it was an impressive show. To that end, I left the gallery shop with this new addition to my library.
As catalogues go, this one is quite hefty. It features all the work in the exhibition (which it should, however there’s nothing more annoying to have not checked and to find your favourite work not making it into the print.) It also includes several articles about Hirst by the team involved in curating the show, an interview with the artist plus a chronology spanning his life and achievements.
While the articles were an interesting read, it is the Plates section that, for me, is the most crucial. It doesn’t disappoint. Taking up the majority of pages (236 to be exact), it’s beautifully bound with gatefolds contributing to showing wide-angle representations of some of the important pieces. Finally, the thickness of paper assures minimal show through so that the photographs can be fully enjoyed.
Published by Skira Editore S.p.A, 2013. Essays by Francesco Bonami, Abdellah Karroum and Michael Crag-Martin. Interview by Nicholas Serota.