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H8
Fruitful And Forever

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Critical Review

Hirst’s H8 Fruitful and Forever prints were created with Fondazione Prada, Milan, in order to raise money for charity Riscriviamo il Futuro.

The series is composed of two prints, Fruitful and Forever, which come in two different size variations. The prints depict sections from Hirst’s The Virtues series, which the artist completed during the COVID-19 pandemic in November 2020. Inspired by the natural beauty of the Cherry blossom tree in full bloom, in The Virtues series, Hirst reinterprets the traditional landscape painting as well as the major artistic movements of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, such as Impressionism and Action Painting. Other notable artistic influences that mark the series are Pierre Bonnard, Claude Monet, Vincent Van Gogh and the pioneer of Pointillism, Georges Seurat. On discussing the completion of this impressive body of paintings, Hirst explains: “The pandemic has given me a lot more time to live with the paintings, and look at them, and make absolutely certain that everything’s finished.”

In Fruitful and Forever, Hirst uses bright, abstract details from the Virtues works, encouraging the viewer to appreciate the materiality of painting and the time that goes into producing such spectacular canvases. The prints show close-up details of the densely layered paint and draw attention towards the dabs of colourful paint that make up large-scale canvases. Spring colours dominate this series, with blue, pink, white and green paint being used to represent Spring and the blossoming trees.

Fruitful and Forever are deeply personal works that resonates strongly with Hirst’s childhood and youth. Hirst recalls how, at the age of three, he used to watch his mother painting the magnificent tree in full blossom. The artist’s love for the trees, their natural beauty and elegance grew stronger as time passed and the artist recounts fondly how he was enchanted by a cherry blossom tree outside his bedroom window in Devon. Hirst was drawn to the way in which the cycle of the cherry blossom tree acted like a clock, with its annual blossoming representing a year passing. He explains “I realised that, from a time-passing point of view, the tree meant everything to me: that’s another year, that’s another year. For a while, it just became like a clock. And I kind of love it for that reason.”

The profits from the Fruitful and Forever series were donated to a campaign launched by Save the Children which aimed to support Italian children from disadvantaged backgrounds who had been affected by the school closures during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.