Damien Hirst takes over the 500-acre Château La Coste Estate in Provence

Over 90 works have been installed in its grounds and pavilions, from sculptures to paintings

There’s a cache of new additions to the bucolic grounds of Château La Coste Estate this month as Damien Hirst launches his expansive exhibition, The Light That Shines, bringing over 90 of his mesmerising works to Provence.
Château La Coste regularly hosts exhibitions and artist residencies within its cypress-studded grounds, but Hirst is the first artist to take over the estate in its entirety.

He’s co-opted everything from its verdant vineyards to all five of its architect-designed pavilions to showcase his career-spanning sculptures and paintings, including his iconic ‘Natural History’ formaldehyde works from the 1990s and some that have never been seen before.

In the Old Wine Storehouse, designed by Jean-Michel Wilmotte, Hirst has installed his ‘Cosmos Paintings’ and sculptures from the ‘Meteorites’ and ‘Satellites’ series—previously unseen. Among them are his bronze ‘Meteorites’, which riff on those recovered and displayed in natural history museums, while his bronze ‘Satellites’ are based on Degas’ casts.

Butterflies have been an important and recurrent motif for Hirst in recent years. In the Richard Rogers Gallery, he’s debuting his kaleidoscopic series, ‘The Empress Paintings’, depicting red and black butterfly wings arranged in abstract patterns. The works are named after powerful female rulers from history, such as Pharaoh Hatshepsut and Empresses Jingū and Agrippina.

‘I am thrilled and excited to be the first artist to do a takeover showand have my work exhibited across the whole estate, particularly in the mega pavilions designed by Frank Gehry, Oscar Niemeyer and Richard Rogers,’ says Hirst.

A series of outdoor sculptures have been studded across the grounds, awaiting discovery, while the Oscar Niemeyer Auditorium is filled with Hirst’s 2017 series ‘Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable’. First shown in Venice, the sculptures and artworks are inspired by the excavation of an ancient shipwreck.

The exhibition includes over 90 pieces in total, culminating with Hirst’s recent floral series, The Secret Gardens Paintings, on show in the Bastide Gallery.

The Light That Shines runs at Château La Coste Estate until 23 June 2024

Photography: Château La Coste
Photography: Château La Coste
Photography: Château La Coste

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