In 1991 Charles Saatchi offered to fund whatever artwork Damien Hirst wanted to make. The result was The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living – a £6,000 shark corpse floating in a formaldehyde vitrine. It was displayed in the Young British Artists first exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery the following year, and its reception catapulted Hirst into the public spotlight.
Here a range of Hirst’s work is shown alongside the centre's collection of pieces by his close friend Margaret Mellis – an important mentor during the development of his early career. Mellis was one of the last survivors of the modernist artists that gathered in St Ives in the 1940s, and she played an important role in establishing the prestige of the colony. Hirst has publicly lamented that her work has been unduly neglected.