British artist Damien Hirst and New York-based Korean artist Michael Joo share a little bit more than friendship, common interest in pool and alcohol. Actually, considering both men also share a weighty obsession with life, death, nature and diamonds, perhaps we should say they have a lot in common-- and it also shows that men's contemplations about the fundamentals of life is frankly, without boundaries.
Since the duo met at the "Unfair" Exhibition in Cologne, Germany almost two decades ago, they had been fast friends. But, it is also almost two decades later that these art and pool buddies decided to take their relationship to the next level with a collaborative exhibition "Have You Ever Looked At The Sun?", currently held at the Haunch of Venison Gallery in Berlin.
The show is an interesting culminating point for both men, and it also demonstrates how 20 years of independent discourse can wind up in the same boat. While Hirst's story is quite well-known, being one of the richest living artists to date and having high profile commercial collaborations with Louis Vuitton, and of course-- the renowned formaldehyde Tiger shark "The Physical Impossibility Of Death In The Mind Of Someone Living", makes him an icon the general public is familiar with.
On the other hand, Joo may come across as a little more obscure to those who are not quite acquainted with the art world. Joo's rise to fame comes from "Some Went Mad, Some Ran Away" at the Serpentine Gallery in 1995. Joo, very much like Hirst, is fascinated with nature, the flora and the fauna, and he explores the concept and relationship of identity, nature and the body in his work across a wide range of mediums such as painting, installation and sculpture.
In "Have You Ever Looked At The Sun?" both artists are not only exhibiting new work, but have also brought out their seminal guns-- and refreshed them in the literal sense (Hirst had to reanimate his 1990-91 "Let's Eat Outdoors Today", which is essentially an installation of flies, with freshly hatched ones from the U.K..) Meanwhile, Joo's renowned cut and reconstructed oak and stainless steel trunk from 2001 is on display as well. "Sun" promises to be a mind-boggling journey which will send viewers off contemplating about the more somber things (life and death) with a tinge of wry humor. The exhibition will be running through the summer till Aug 14.
In the mean time, WWD has caught up with the artists to discuss their collaborative exhibition alongside their obsession with cutting things up, and diamonds.
"Have You Ever Really Looked At The Sun?"
Haunch of Venison Berlin Gallery
Heidestraße 46 | Map
10557 Berlin, Germany
Exhibition Dates: May 1st (Saturday) - August 14th (Saturday)