At Large  August 8, 2017

Life, colour and optimism: Damien Hirst’s Spin Paintings

‘A massive explosion of energy – full of life, colour and optimism’ – Damien Hirst 

This is how Damien Hirst described his Spin Paintings. Hirst first started experimenting with spin art in 1992 at his Brixton studio and the works’ elongated lines stretching out to the edge of the painting embody energy, life and a refreshing sense of optimism.

One such work is offered in the 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design sale on 11 July. An original Hirst, it is one of 250 paintings produced for a charity auction in aid of War Child. Both Hirst and British artist, Patrick Hughes, created art during a fundraising event held at the Saatchi Gallery – then in St. John’s Wood – organised by the charity’s founder, Brian Eno.

Hirst created 250 spin paintings over the course of a few hours with Hughes creating an equal amount of his ‘ghost’ paintings. Each work was numbered, stamped, dated and timed. The example offered for auction in July is number 51/250 stamped War Child and is dated and timed 21 June 1995 16.34.

The works were then sealed in individually decorated boxes curated by Eno and sold at the Pagan Funwear fashion event attended by the designer Stella McCartney and musicians such as Bjork and members from U2 and Oasis.

Buyers were not told whether they were bidding on a Hirst or a Hughes but each box was designed by Cally on Art Island, sprayed by Brian Eno and manufactured by Tinsley Robor. The presentation box, titled Antennae #1, also included a Polaroid by Brian Eno; a wallpaper designed by David Bowie; a compact disk containing the original music from the catwalk; and an instruction manual on how to recreate the entire fashion show on your dining room table following an ‘exotic’ meal no less.

Hirst is one of Britian’s commercially successfully contemporary artists. Born in 1965, Hirst became the most prominent member of the Young British Artist. The YBAs describes a group of British artists who exhibited together in 1988 and were known for their open approach to materials, process and subject matter. Other leading artists include Tracey Emin, Sarah Lucas and Gary Hume.

The version to appear at auction this July shows a colour burst of blue overlaid on radii of citrus yellow and is offered with the original box and its contents.

Entries are invited for the 20th century Contemporary Art & Design auction.  Please contact Head of Department James Nurse before 30 June: ku.oc.snoitcuakciwsihc@semaj.

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