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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 June, 2003, 10:37 GMT 11:37 UK
Hirst unveils ping-pong Last Supper
Damien Hirst
Damien Hirst is one of the UK's most popular artists
Artist Damien Hirst has unveiled a new religious work that uses 13 ping pong balls and spurting red wine to represent Leonardo Da Vinci's Last Supper.

The 13 ping pong balls will represent Jesus and his 12 disciples, and will be suspended over cascades of red wine, after blood was abandoned because Hirst thought it "might congeal".

The artist said it will involve a pump forcing jets of liquid out with balls "floating on them like on the fairground rifle range".

The sculpture will be shown in a new exhibition called Romance in the Age of Uncertainty in London in the autumn.

"I'm also doing cabinets that are the deaths of the saints and the ascension of Jesus," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"I've got a piece called In His Infinite Wisdom, which is a deformed calf... there's lots of religious themes."

Hirst, a lapsed Catholic who grew up in Leeds, said he thought of "science, religion and art" as equal forces in his art.

"The whole show for me is a collision of science and religion, and how they're failing, and working and surviving together," he said.

He has shown sketches for the piece in his first official retrospective of his work which is opened on Tuesday in the Slovenian capital Ljubljana.

It is part of the city's 25th Biennial of Graphic Art.

The Slovenian retrospective is made up of drawings from his teenage years right up to the present day.

It was set up by the British Council and took two years to organise.

"I've got drawings that are working drawings for sculptures, drawings scribbled on beer mats for mates," Hirst told Today.

"I was going through my drawings just documenting them, but I've never thought of them as art."

He added that having defended himself "constantly" from "people saying 'You don't make your own work' he suddenly realised he had "a whole set of stuff I've done where I've created it all".

Artist Damien Hirst
"I would say that I'm an artist or a sculptor, I wouldn't say that I was a painter"

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