In pictures: Artist creates works from Damien Hirst busts

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A Manchester artist has launched an exhibition of works based on plaster busts of controversial artist Damien Hirst which he says "looks at subverting the role of the artist's assistant and the patron".
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Richard Shields' Bring Me The Head Of Damien Hirst sees "golf ball-sized" representations of the British artist, famous for creating works with animals preserved in formaldehyde and colourful spin and spot paintings, turned into a variety of items, including chests, jewellery and gadgets.
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The artist said the idea for the show came to him after he started thinking about a miniature bust of Hirst for an "unrealised project" at university, which led him to consider the area of "patronage and art and the art equivalent of a class system".
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As a result, the artist has created a selection of pieces, which he will show in Manchester before handing a number of busts of Hirst to a selection of patrons - including Own Art, Axisweb and Islington Mill - who will be asked to produce work as his "new assistants". The results will be shown at a second exhibition later in the year.
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Damien Hirst famously uses a large team of assistants to produce his works and while Shields says his exhibition is a commentary on that process, he adds that using help "is a necessity for ambitious art and artists are often ambitious".
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He said of the example heads he made "there are ones I had fun playing with and ones I think have a closer link to my main practice - the iHirst series, for example, make a good comment on branding awareness, [though it] doesn't actually do anything more than a sculpture would".
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Bring Me The Head Of Damien Hirst is at Barclay House on Whitworth Street, Manchester until 23 June.

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