About Damien Hirst

Visit the Country Park to see four major sculptures by Damien Hirst.

Charity (2002-2003), Myth (2010), The Hat Makes the Man (2004-2007) and The Virgin Mother (2005-2006) joined YSP as part of Yorkshire Sculpture International (YSI). YSI is a partnership between YSP, The Hepworth Wakefield, the Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, and Leeds Art Gallery. YSI 2019 was a festival of sculpture that took place across Leeds and Wakefield from 22 June until 29 September 2019. The Virgin Mother is 10 metres tall and is a powerful presence in the landscape. It is partly inspired by the historic sculpture Little Dancer of Fourteen Years (c.1881), by Edgar Degas. Charity is based on the Scope charity collection boxes that used to be common on British streets. On the walking route to The Weston, it features a young girl wearing a calliper and cradling a teddy bear. It has a donate box asking people to 'please give generously'. Hirst's interpretation questions outdated ways of depicting disability and seeking charity.

Hirst often uses religious or mythical subjects, to raise questions about them. Myth is a unicorn that has had half of its skin removed. It reminds us of Hirst's famous early works as well as to art history. Horses are one of the main subjects of sculpture throughout time.

The Hat Makes the Man is based on a 1920 collage of the same name by the Surrealist artist Max Ernst. Ernst's collage seems to have been inspired by the Sigmund Freud's statement that hats are symbols of repressed male desire. The collage is made of cut-out images of hats on intentionally phallic-like supports. Hirst has made a sculpture version with bronze casts of wooden pallets, like a sculptural collage. He deliberately makes the materials look different than they are. For example The Virgin Mother is bronze painted to look like plastic. The Hat Makes the Man imitates painted wood. Hirst is deliberately playing with the fact that bronze is a hight status material for sculpture.

One of the aims of YSI is to engage a mass audience through sculpture and Damien's works will play a key role in achieving this. YSI is something special, memorable and game changing for Yorkshire’s growing art scene

- Jane Bhoyroo, Producer of YSI