Celebrating Contemporary: Away from the Flock by Damien Hirst

  • 8 September 2011

Day six of our Celebrating Contemporary season looks at one of the most iconic pieces of contemporary British art.

Damien Hirst, Away from the Flock, 1995 © Damien Hirst

Damien Hirst, Away from the Flock, 1995

Day six of our Celebrating Contemporary season looks at one of the most iconic pieces of contemporary British art: Damien Hirst's Away from the Flock.

The work

Comprising a sheep suspended in formaldehyde within a glass and steel case, Away from the Flock is one of Hirst's 'Natural History' works. The dead sheep, which seems strangely alive in its suspension, explores the line between life and death.

The title has religious significance, alluding to the Christian notion of straying from the protection of the church – perhaps suggesting spiritual crisis or decay. Away from the Flock is part of the Tate's ARTIST ROOMS collection, and will be on display at Leeds Art Gallery until 30 October 2011.

The artist

Born in Bristol in 1965 and raised in Leeds, Damien Hirst attended Leeds College of Art and Design and subsequently studied Fine Art at Goldsmiths College, where he was tutored by artist Michael Craig-Martin. He was awarded the Turner Prize in 1995.

Hirst's practice is wide-ranging, encompassing installations, sculpture, painting and drawing. Nevertheless, there are themes his work returns to again and again, including life and death, art and science, and his trademark 'spots'. 

Did you know?

Hirst was a member of British band Fat Les, along with Blur's Alex James and actor Keith Allen. The band reached number two in the UK Singles Chart with "Vindaloo", an unofficial theme song for the 1998 World Cup.

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