An edited Chinese-language translation of a piece I wrote was published in Vogue China in November 20081. These are my original texts in response to the questions the editor proposed as the structure for the piece:
Please write down why you picked Damien Hirst?
Hirst is a controversial character who gives a writer a lot of material to get their teeth into. Whatever else you think about him and whether or not you think what he does is serious, I think you have to admit he’s making some serious points about his practice as an artist and the role of art for humanity. He’s also not shy of confronting the art world’s workings and it’s position in society.
His work has gone through many stages. It has a tendency towards the theatrical or cinematic in the sense that many of the larger works create settings in which there is a gap available for the human figure to take it’s place so we become part of the work. This sumptuous theatricality tends to overshadow the fact the Hirst is primarily a conceptual artist, concerned more with the idea behind the work than the absolute form the work takes. For him craftsmanship or artistic style are all subservient to the idea behind the work – but the effectiveness of the form often leads to his work being misunderstood (especially by the tabloid press in Britain) as semi-decorative and lacking in any deep meaning. This isn’t helped by Hirst himself who can often appear flippant when asked to justify his work.