Damien Hirst loves to play provocateur. The artist makes mosaics with pharmaceuticals and sculptures with taxidermy. Now, for his latest series of paintings, he's depicting cities in conflict. But look closer: What seem like innocent, black-and-white satellite images are crafted out of sharp, dangerous objects.
Seventeen cities engaged in some form of warfare are mapped out against a black backdrop, their streets and buildings formed out of scalpels, zippers and safety pins. But each cityscape also contains its own local twist. So among the iron filings and shattered glass, you'll also find tattoo needles (Moscow), fish hooks (Rio), Champagne caps (Paris) and shrapnel (Baghdad).
A detail from 'London' (2014). All images photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates © Damien Hirst/Science ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2014
From the artist's own statement:
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 devastating realities of war.
From top image: Paris, Washington DC, Baghdad, Hollywood, Hong Kong, Vatican City, San Francisco, New York City (specifically, Lower Manhattan)