Author: Alicia Muir

Love Beyond the Romantic: Damien Hirst, Magnus Gjoen and Simon Shepherd

‘It [is] all about art and love’ – Peggy Guggenheim

Valentine’s Day is approaching. Maybe you are looking forward to it, or maybe it’s just another day of the year for you and you don’t get the fuss. Either way, we think it’s a nice time to reflect on ‘love’ in all its forms, as the variety of this emotion and feeling is as wide as the art that explores the theme. This viewing room demonstrates how art represents love beyond the romantic realm; from expressions of hope, peace and support, to the manipulation of symbols associated with love.

Love Beyond the Romantic: Damien Hirst, Magnus Gjoen and Simon Shepherd | Image

Butterfly Heart (Large), 2020 by Damien Hirst 

DAMIEN HIRST - VIEW COLLECTION 

Remember all the beautiful rainbows that could be seen in windows across the country during lockdown? Damien Hirst showed his support for key-workers by creating his own rainbow artworks and prints, using his prominent status to raise a significant amount of money for NHS charities. Hirst said of his butterfly rainbows; “I wanted to do something to pay tribute to the wonderful work NHS staff are doing in hospitals around the country. The rainbow is a sign of hope and I think it is brilliant that parents and children are creating their own version and putting them up in the windows of their homes.”

Love Beyond the Romantic: Damien Hirst, Magnus Gjoen and Simon Shepherd | Image

Cupid (Love Over Hate) by Magnus Gjoen

MAGNUS GJOEN - VIEW COLLECTION

Magnus Gjoen has collaborated with porcelain manufacturer Meissen on a range of Cupid figurines. The names of the figures; ‘Love Always Wins’, ‘Love Not War’ and ‘Love Over Hate’, emphasise their anti-war message. Gjoen’s Cupid figurines were created in response to the contemporary turbulence encountered by many across the world, intending to convey hope. Meissen’s porcelain Cupid figurines, which symbolise romance and love, have been hugely popular pieces since the foundation of the factory in the early eighteenth century. Gjoen transforms these historic Cupid figures into anti-war creations, and broadens the love that they express.

Love Beyond the Romantic: Damien Hirst, Magnus Gjoen and Simon Shepherd | Image

Veil of Tears by Simon Shepherd

SIMON SHEPHERD - VIEW COLLECTION

Simon Shepherd creates sculptures that explore distinctions between the familiar and the unfamiliar by developing an everyday object and provoking the viewer to reassess their preconceptions about it. The heart has been used to represent romantic love since the Middle Ages. The anatomically inaccurate heart is now recognised as a symbol for love across the world and cultures. Simon Shepherd’s wall mounted sculptures reimagine the heart shape with the addition of features that create and illustrate new meanings. In ‘The First Cut’, the heart’s associations with romance are quite literally sliced in half by a steel blade, giving the piece darker undertones. 

Feeling inspired to celebrate Valentine's Day with the gift of art? Explore our collection of carefully selected artworks to find your perfect match here.

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