Damien Hirst – Love Lust Faith + Dreams art context #MARS



Damien Hirst



Acrylic and solvent based spray paint on canvas

1524 x 1930 mm | 60 x 76 in | (4 inch spot)

Image: Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2013


The spot paintings are amongst Hirst’s most prolific and widely recognised works. In 1988, during the third and final stage of ‘Freeze’, Hirst painted two near-identical arrangements of coloured spots onto the wall of the warehouse. He called the works ‘Edge’ (1988) and ‘Row’ (1988). These paintings followed some loose hand-painted spots on board, dating from 1986, and the first spot work on canvas ‘Untitled (with Black Dot)’ (1988) – the only ‘Pharmaceutical’ painting ever to have incorporated a black dot. Following ‘Freeze’, Hirst started to refine his creative process. Slowly, he began to employ assistants to create the spot paintings. Any physical evidence of human intervention – such as the compass point left at the centre of each spot – was removed, until the works appeared to have been constructed mechanically, or “by a person trying to paint like a machine”.[1] For Hirst, it was a departure from years of experimenting with paint and collage, and the first result of his search for a contemporary art form that could succeed without a reliance on “already organised elements.”

There are thirteen sub-series within the spot category, each named after a category of drug. The ‘Pharmaceutical’ paintings are the first and most prolific sub-series and are based on an infinite and random colour series in which no two shades are repeated within a painting. Antibiotics refer to those substances that inhibit the growth, or destroy microorganisms, particularly disease-producing bacteria. The Antibiotics series began in 2010. The individual spots are made using an acrylic and solvent-based spray paint applied with a stencil. In the same manner as the Pharmaceutical series, the bright spot colours are never repeated within the sequences of a single painting.

In 2012 Gagosian Gallery exhibited over 300 spot paintings across eleven gallery spaces worldwide. Conceived as a single exhibition, ‘The Complete Spot Paintings 1986-2011’ fulfilled Hirst’s longstanding ambition to show the works together. He explained in 2000, “it’s an assault on your senses. They grab hold of you and give you a good shaking. As adults, we’re not used to it. It’s an amazing fact that all objects leap beyond their own dimension.”[2]

[1] Damien Hirst cited in Damien Hirst and Gordon Burn, ‘On the Way to Work’, (Faber and Faber, 2001), 90

[2] ibid., 220

(CREDITS: http://www.damienhirst.com/daptomycin )


About echelonsfl

South Florida Echelon Admin Acct

Posted on March 19, 2013, in Articles, Up In The Air Single and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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