Damien Hirst gallery to open in 2014

Image caption,
Hirst's £50m diamond-encrusted skull work will be displayed at the Turbine Hall next month

Damien Hirst's public gallery in south London, which is being developed to display his personal art collection, will open in 2014, the artist has said.

He told the Observerthe project, which has been years in the planning, would include six galleries and a cafe.

"It's my Saatchi gallery, basically," he said. Works by Hirst and others, including Banksy and US artist Jeff Koons, will be exhibited.

From 4 April, the Tate Modern will exhibit a Hirst retrospective.

Hirst told the Observer his gallery, in Newport Street, Vauxhall, would be "a place to show my collection of contemporary art", which reportedly includes more than 2,000 pieces.

"It feels bad having it all in crates. It's basically Bacon and beyond."

Hirst, who owns five paintings by the late Francis Bacon, added: "He didn't make many and he's not making any more."

Art champion

The gallery - designed by architects Caruso St John - will take up the whole of Newport Street and incorporates the conversion of a terrace of three listed buildings flanked by two new buildings.

Hirst's gallery follows in the footsteps of London's Saatchi Gallery, opened in 1985 by art collector Charles Saatchi to display his own collection to the public.

Image caption,
Hirst's The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living was commissioned by Charles Saatchi

Saatchi also sponsored Hirst, who first came to the public's attention with his 1988 Freeze exhibition of his own works and those of his fellow Goldsmiths College students.

BBC Arts editor Will Gompertz said Hirst's work as a curator and champion of new art that started with Freeze - from behind-the-scenes support of unknown artists through to collecting and exhibiting - was often overlooked.

"Charles Saatchi didn't make Damien Hirst, Damien Hirst made Charles Saatchi," he said.

Hirst has previously said that collecting "is the way the world works, as a human being.

"As you go through life, you just collect… I always think collections are like a map of a man's life."

Tate Modern's Hirst retrospective will run from 4 April to 9 September and one of Hirst's most famous pieces -the £50m diamond-encrusted skull entitled For the Love of God, will be on display in the gallery's Turbine Hall from 4 April to 24 June.

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