Damien Hirst
Cherry Blossoms

Cartier Foundation — Book

Damien Hirst: Cherry Blossoms

Damien Hirst: Cherry Blossoms


“The Cherry Blossoms are about beauty and life and death. They’re extreme — there’s something almost tacky about them. […] They’re about desire and how we process the things around us and what we turn them into, but also about the insane visual transience of beauty — a tree in full crazy blossom against a clear sky.”
— Damien Hirst

Over two years, Damien Hirst created the 107 large paintings composing the Cherry Blossoms Series. Described by Fondation Cartier as an “ode to painting”, this large-scale catalogue raisonné provides an immersive experience of the full series. The paintings are accompanied by numerous details and 18 foldouts. 

Our research into the traditional representation of Japanese cherry blossoms took us from Ukiyo-e to the early, then post-impressionists of late 19th century France. We wanted to reference the monumentalism of the books published in that era, with their covers bound in cloth simply stating the artist’s surname. Their simplicity gives off a stately elegance and confidence. The inside layout also builds on the clarity of these catalogues, with extra attention paid to the materials, which vary between coated, uncoated and dyed to create distinct sections. Cherry blossoms symbolize both birth and death, beauty and violence. Hence, we have juxtaposed delicate, uplifting papers with black, rough Japanese material.

Publisher: Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris
Contributors: Emanuele Coccia, Philippe Costamagna, Michio Hayashi, Gilda Williams, Alberto Manguel