Several large-scale bronze sculptures by Damien Hirst worth millions of pounds that appeared outside his Gloucestershire studio last week are being restored ahead of a retrospective of the artist’s works, The Art Newspaper can reveal. Details of the retrospective will be announced later this year, according to a spokeswoman for Hirst.
News service Gloucestershire Live first reported spotting the works standing in the car park of the vast complex in Stroud over the holidays. Science Studios, as the compound is called, is where Hirst produces his large-scale sculptures as well as his formaldehyde pieces in a specially ventilated unit. Most of his bronze works are cast at the Pangolin foundry in nearby Brimscombe.
Four monumental sculptures were visible last week from the cycling path adjacent to the studio complex: Charity (2002-03), The Virgin Mother (2005-06), Temple (2008) and Hymn (1999-2005). The pieces have been returned following exhibitions at Houghton Hall, Yorkshire Sculpture International and Norwich University of the Arts and “are currently being worked on for a retrospective exhibition”, the spokeswoman says.
Science Studios, completed in 2012 by Bath-based Designscape Architects, boasts an 18-metre high gallery to show works to clients, with plans for an outdoor sculpture park.
Hirst recently returned to painting following a decade working on sculptures for his exhibition, Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable, which closed in Venice in December 2017. Featuring hundreds of objects produced in marble, gold and bronze, crystal, jade and malachite, the show, installed across two museums, racked up a reported £250m in sales.
In 2018, Hirst streamlined his business to “focus on his art”, laying off 50 members of staff, mainly working in finance and IT, although there were some losses in his London and Gloucester studios. The artist, meanwhile, invested in a new studio on Beak Street in Soho, central London, which was purchased for around £40m, according to Companies House. The new complex was expected to open last year.