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The Lightbox celebrates the official opening of ‘Damien Hirst: New Religion’

On Friday 27 March, The Lightbox gallery and museum celebrated the opening of the exhibition ‘Damien Hirst: New Religion’ (28 March – 5 July 2015). This rare 
showing of ‘New Religion’ in association with Paul Stolper Gallery and The British Council, explores the relationship between science, art and religion which have 
dominated Damien Hirst’s 25 year career and made him one of the world’s most significant contemporary artists.

The exhibition, on show for the first time in the UK outside of London, is made up of 44 silkscreen prints and four sculptures which move from the Creation of the 
World, through the Stations of the Cross and towards the Last Judgement. These prints surround an altarpiece holding a cedar cross studded with gem-like pills, a 
child’s skull and a heart wrapped in barbed wire and pierced by needles and razor blades all cast in silver, and a large carved marble pill.

Damien Hirst explained his thought-process behind the exhibition as, ‘‘I was thinking that there are four important things in life: religion, love, art and science… Of 
them all, science seems to be the one right now. Like religion, it provides the glimmer of hope that maybe it will be all right in the end’’ 
(Sean O’Hagan, New Religion, 2006).

To open the exhibition over 150 people attended a private view and there was a real buzz of excitement amongst the crowd who were keen to see the work of the 
high-profile and at times controversial artist. The Mayor of Woking Tony Branagan and his wife Mary, MP Jonathan Lord, and several representatives from the British
Council including the Director of Visual Arts, Emma Dexter, were in attendance.

The Director of The Lightbox, Marilyn Scott, gave thanks to all those that had made the exhibition possible including the Co-Curator Michael Regan, Paul Stolper, 
Richard Riley and Linsey Young of the British Council, the team at The Lightbox and of course, Damien himself for allowing the exhibition to be displayed here.

Marilyn said of the exhibition that she “was aware how it is almost impossible to secure showing an exhibition of Damien Hirst, such is the demand, and that we are
therefore very lucky to be showing ‘New Religion’ here in Woking. The exhibition is very exciting and was devised by Hirst as one piece that encapsulates many of 
the key themes that run throughout his work.”

Paul Stolper, who has worked closely with Damien Hirst for many years, followed Marilyn with a speech that noted he “has seen New Religion displayed in a number of venues around the world, from a palace in Venice to a church in London, but that it looks particularly stunning at The Lightbox as the use of space really fulfils what Damien was trying to achieve. The Main Gallery at The Lightbox lends itself very well to the ‘church’ like feel that the exhibition is designed to evoke”.

Paul also thanked the Co-Curator Michael Regan, The Lightbox Exhibitions team for their hard work in expertly installing the exhibition, along with the British Council and his team at Paul Stolper Gallery in London.

‘Damien Hirst: New Religion’ is on show at The Lightbox from 28 March – 5 July 2015. Entrance with a £5 Annual Pass.

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