press release

Damien Hirst's groundbreaking and controversial work has made him one of Britain's best-known living artists. Since the start of his career, Hirst has adopted the role of curator, co-organising a series of exhibitions with a group of young British artists who came to define cutting-edge art in the 1990s. It began with the now legendary Freeze exhibition of 1988, organised when he was still a student at Goldsmiths College and followed by Modern Medicine and Gambler, both in 1990. In 1994 he curated the highly-acclaimed exhibition Some Went Mad, Some Ran Away... at the Serpentine Gallery. Now, with In the darkest hour there may be light Hirst presents his murderme collection to the public for the first time.

As well as being a producer, a curator and foremost an artist, Damien Hirst is also a passionate and obsessive collector of art. Like many artists, he began collecting by exchanging works with his friends - artists such as Tracey Emin, Angus Fairhurst and Sarah Lucas. His sensibility developed in concert with his wide-ranging artistic interests, although Hirst emphasizes that this collection has evolved without a master plan and is simply a consequence of the basic desire to amass objects. Now known as the murderme collection, this significant accumulation of works spans several generations of international artists, from well-known figures such as Francis Bacon, Jeff Koons, Richard Prince and Andy Warhol, to artists in earlier stages of their careers like Rachel Howard, Nicholas Lumb and Tom Ormond.

To accompany the exhibition Damien Hirst has curated a Limited Edition Print Portfolio of 23 works by leading international contemporary artists. This is a unique opportunity to collect works by exceptional artists.

In association with Hiscox, the specialist insurer Supported by Outset Contemporary Art Fund

Hiscox: Lead Sponsors Hiscox is delighted to be sponsoring In the darkest hour there may be light: works from Damien Hirst's murderme collection, enabling the Serpentine Gallery to bring the personal art collection of one the world's greatest artists to the general public for the first time. The sponsorship is a natural association for Hiscox. As a specialist insurer, it was one of the first in the UK to offer cover for artworks as a stand-alone insurance class. Driven by the passion of its chairman, Robert Hiscox, the company began collecting art over forty years ago. Hiscox believes in supporting initiatives that encourage and inspire collectors of all levels to build their own unique collections.

The Hiscox collection now features over 50 artists including Damien Hirst, Richard Billingham, Marc Quinn, Mat Collishaw, Keith Coventry, Gregory Crewdson, Mark Wallinger and Cecily Brown. The collection is on permanent display in Hiscox offices around the world and is regularly updated.

In addition to this, Hiscox has its own exhibition space, Hiscox Art Projects, situated within the café on the ground floor of its London office and open to the public during the day, making contemporary collections and exhibitions readily accessible to those living and working in the City and the wider art community. Hiscox is also dedicated to uncovering and encouraging emerging talent and sponsors degree shows at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris and the Master of Fine Art Degree Show at the Glasgow School of Art.