Emmanuel Perrotin explains why he is not Damien Hirst’s dealer despite having given him his first show in this interview with the dealer from The Art Newspaper:
You gave Hirst his first solo exhibition in 1991, why didn’t he stay with you?
We included him in a group show in 1990, then he had his own solo show [“When Logics Die”] in 1991. It included autopsy tables, complete with photographs of suicide victims—and went well. But only six months later, he had become really well known so while it had gone very well between us, I was just starting out and didn’t have any money for him to produce works. So of course, he went elsewhere, it was natural. The exhibition for Damien did more for me than it did for him so I’ve never reproached him for anything. The only thing I regret is not being entrusted with more of his works at that time—just one would have represented two years of turnover for me during the more difficult years.
Were you not going to collaborate again this year?
Yes, we were going to. He very generously suggested re-doing the exhibition 20 years on. He had some ideas, but after 20 years, I wanted to do something that was a real renewal of Hirst’s career, rather than works that people were more used to. I had wanted people to go “Wow! This series is wonderful,” so in the end I decided against the show. Maybe I was wrong. Other galleries are good at doing certain projects to enable the financing of others. Sometimes I think I should have brought in the money, been attacked by the Paris critics, but then financed more ambitious projects for other artists. Maybe if I am lucky, he will offer me another project.
Dealer Interview: Emmanuel Perrotin (The Art Newspaper)