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Details & Cataloguing

Bowie/Collector – Part I: Modern and Contemporary Art, Evening Auction

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London

Damien Hirst
B.1965
BEAUTIFUL, SHATTERING, SLASHING, VIOLENT, PINKY, HACKING, SPHINCTER PAINTING
signed
household gloss on canvas
diameter: 212.5 cm.; 84in.
Executed in 1995.
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Provenance

White Cube, London, where acquired by David Bowie

Exhibited

Oslo, Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Sincerely Yours, January - March 2000.

Literature

Damien Hirst: No Sense of Absolute Corruption, (exh. cat.), New York, Gagosian Gallery, 1996, illustrated p.100;
Damien Hirst, I Want to Spend the Rest of My Life Everywhere, with Everyone, One to One, Always, Forever, Now, London, 2005, illustrated p.255.

Catalogue Note

Bursting with a magnificently dynamic energy, Beautiful, shattering, slashing, violent, pinky, hacking, sphincter painting, in its pulsating kaleidoscope of reds, greens, blues and yellow is a vibrant and powerful example of Damien Hirst’s iconic spin paintings. Created in 1995, the year in which Hirst won the Turner Prize, the present work brilliantly encapsulates Hirst’s tongue-in-cheek attitude to art historical tradition through its method of production: standing from above, pouring household emulsion paint onto a rapidly rotating canvas, resulted in vibrant expressions of liberation, chance and spontaneity. They are, as Bowie hailed of Hirst, 'unconcerned with the savageness of life. It’s optimistic, it’s here and it’s now' (David Bowie, quoted in Modern Painters, '(s)Now', Summer 1996, p.39).

Hirst made his first Spin painting in 1992, titling it with one of the amusingly convoluted titles that were to become the hallmark of the series - Beautiful Ray of Sunshine on a Rainy Day Painting – and the spin paintings became, when he started the series in earnest in 1994, one of the most instantly recognisable and popular parts of his entire corpus. And the present work is a consummate example, epitomising Hirst’s own view of the spinning cortex of paint that forms the composition: 'The movement sort of implies life' (the Artist, quoted in Damien Hirst and Gordon Burn, On the Way to Work, London, 2001, p.221).

Hirst stated that the concept first came to him in the 1970s following an episode of the children’s television programme Blue Peter: 'I grew up with Blue Peter. I got my idea for the spin paintings from an episode in the 1970s…I remember thinking: ‘That’s fun, whereas art is something more serious…I just thought: "Why does it have to be like that? ...Actually, the better art is the art made with the spin machine"’ (the Artist, quoted in Mark Brown, The Guardian, 29th August 2012, n.p.). The spin paintings embody a euphoric ecstasy of childlike explorations. Hirst never lost his childlike sense of wonder in the process of creating these works, and following his collaboration with Bowie on Beautiful, hello, space-boy painting (lot 5), Bowie enthused: 'I had a ball. I felt like I was 3 years old again. It reminded me of Picasso’s attitude. You know, he set the parameters in the studio that produced a kind of playfulness out of which came a very pure thing' (David Bowie, quoted in Michael Kimmelman, ‘Talking Art with/David Bowie; A Musician’s Parallel Passion, The New York Times, 14th June 1998).

Bowie/Collector – Part I: Modern and Contemporary Art, Evening Auction

|
London