London: For the few people who may not be familiar with Damien Hirst’s works, they can be categorized in three broad groups: colourful spots, medicine cabinets, and animals preserved in formaldehyde. However, the spot paintings are perhaps the most predominant element of his body of work, and definitely my favourite one.
Since the 1980s, the artist has been investigating the complex relationship between life, death and art using different media. He is one of the main figures of the collective known as the Young British Artists, who led the British art scene in the 1990s. Over the years, Hirst achieved international fame and success, and at one point was known as the world’s richest living artist. His works have always been quite controversial, but this is perhaps one of the reasons for his popularity and celebrity.
At the beginning of 2012, in conjunction with Larry Gagosian, Hirst planned to exhibit his spot paintings at Gagosian Gallery’s locations all over the world. So from January to March, every Gagosian Gallery was surrendered to the artist’s spot works. From New York and Los Angeles to London, Rome, Athens, Hong Kong, Paris and Geneva more than 300 paintings by Hirst were exhibited in Gagosian’s spaces.
Most of the works were lent by private collectors or public institutions, which made the exhibitions quite different depending on the location. For example, the round canvases were very popular in America, while the irregularly-shaped ones received great success in Europe and especially London.
Among the many works on display were the first ever spot painting made by Hirst in 1986, the smallest spot painting measuring 1 x ½ inches, the largest spot painting depicting four spots each measuring 60 inches in diameter and the most recent one, dated 2011, comprising 25,781 spots! In the last, each of the spots measures 1 millimeter in diameter, and no colour has been used more than once.
Speaking about his spot paintings, Hirst noted: “I was always a colorist, I’ve always had a phenomenal love of color… I mean, I just move color around on its own. So that’s where the spot paintings came from—to create that structure to do those colors, and do nothing. I suddenly got what I wanted. It was just a way of pinning down the joy of color.”
From Damien Hirst, to Yayoi Kusama and Bharti Kher (allowing myself to compare bindis to colourfully painted dots) the spot seems to be firmly entrenched in the world of contemporary art and fashion. So why not take advantage of the Hirst spot print on sale at The Story by Saffronart and become part of this trend?
A large retrospective of this celebrated artist was organized by the Tate Modern, London earlier this year. Read more.