Desert Rose: Damien Hirst's Pharmacy Juice Bar

When juicing goes desert. In celebration of Britain's best-selling contemporary artist, Damien Hirst, a retrospective of his life's work will be on display from October 10 till January 22, 2014, at ALRIWAQ DOHA exhibition space. Relics will present the largest collection of Hirst’s work ever assembled. Spanning over twenty-five years of Hirst’s artistic career, the exhibition includes both iconic and previously unseen works. The artist, who has explored the complex relationship between art, love, life and death, explained “I’ve got an obsession with death, but I think it’s like a celebration of life rather than something morbid”.

In respects to the Relics installation, Hirst teamed up with the fashion aficionados over at Prada to create Pharmacy Juice Bar, installed in the uninhabited Doha desert, like a mirage of sorts. A juice bar is exactly what you want in the Arabian desert after all. Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad Al-Thani, chairperson of Qatar Museums Authority (QMA), is the third hand in this collaboration. It was launched in respects to “Relics”.

His work bears testimony to his enduring fascination with the daily intrusion of death into life, and the inevitable decay of our bodies despite an increasingly unquestioning faith in pharmaceuticals. Often framing scenes within boxes, tanks or vitrines, he stages startling and thought-provoking situations in which life cycles play out, life wrestles with death, and cures become confused with illnesses.

Emerging from the Young British Artist (YBA) movement that originated in London in the late 1980s, he was part of a group which became renowned for their audacious and often shocking works, receiving international acclaim and succeeding in revitalizing the British art scene. As Jean Paul Engelen, Director of Public Art at the Qatar Museum Authority comments: “With his own artistic language Damien Hirst changed our perception of London and the UK. There are very few artists in history that have had such a profound impact on high and popular culture. QMA is extremely proud to make this exhibition with Damien.”

The exhibition will be curated by high-profile writer, critic, and internationally renowned curator Francesco Bonami, currently Manilow Senior Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, and who has previously occupied a number of prestigious posts, including Artistic Director of the Venice Biennale in 2003.

Relics is part of a series of cultural projects initiated by QMA to promote and support local and international art production, foster appreciation and understanding of artistic practices, and create opportunities for cultural dialogue. It also aims to encourage local audiences, to take part in debates and discussions about the arts that can challenge our understanding and unveil new perspectives.

The restrospective is part of Qatar UK 2013 Year of Culture. Inspired by the Qatar National Vision for 2030, Qatar UK 2013 celebrates and showcases the deep-rooted bilateral relations between Qatar and the UK. It aims not only to showcase each other's culture and forge new partnerships in culture, education, research, but also to provide a platform on which to build new long-term relationships between institutions and local communities.

Photography Courtesy ofQatar Museums Authority