Perhaps Hirst’s most iconic and archetypal series, the Spot Paintings comprise of nearly 1,400 works on canvas, the titles of which are taken from the Sigma-Aldrich Catalog of Chemical Compounds. This remarkable opus is divided into thirteen subcategories of differing characteristics, including the Pharmaceuticals (begun in 1986); the Radioactive Compounds (fluorescent spots, begun in 1997); the Antibiotics (spots spray-painted using stencils, begun in 2010); and the Venoms (pale or pastel coloured spots, begun in 1989), of which the present work is a resplendent example. Indeed, the specific venom cited by Hirst in this work's title refers to that of the Tiger Snake – a highly venomous species found in Southern Australia. Grappling with some of the most important themes and motifs that run throughout Hirst’s practice, the Spot Paintings probe the boundary between science and art in an attempt to further explore the human condition. Precisely and systematically structured, the Spots are evocative of medicinal pills and conjure a sense of society’s (ultimately futile) fixation on the preservation of youth, beauty and health. Hence, overshadowed by an idiosyncratic obsession with mortal transience, Hirst’s Spot Paintings remind the viewer that despite our desire for order and harmony, we ultimately have no control over our destiny. “Art is like medicine – it can heal,” the artist has proclaimed; “yet I’ve always been amazed at how many people believe in medicine but don’t believe in art, without questioning either” (Damien Hirst, I Want to Spend the Rest of My Life Everywhere, with Everyone, One to One, Always, Forever, Now, London 1997, p. 246).
The underlying gravitas of paintings such as Notechis Ater Serventyi is poignantly undercut by their compelling, vibrant and cheerful aesthetic. Indeed, tantalisingly and deceptively saccharine in appearance, the present work is imbued with a reflexive and knowing aura that epitomises Hirst’s thought-provoking practice.
Please call 1-800-555-5555 to order a print catalog for this sale.
Online Registration to Bid is Closed for this Sale. Would you like to watch the live sale?Watch Live Sale