Damien Hirst’s interns must be pleased: more than 30 years after the artist painted his first spot painting, he has signalled a visual departure with a new series of works which will go on display this weekend.
The 46 paintings on display come from a new Colour Space series. Using his infamous spot paintings as a starting point, Hirst’s latest work sees the removal of the grid which generated a machine-like regularity to his paintings despite the fact that they were created by hand.
_Damien Hirst at Houghton Hall: Colour Space Paintings and Outdoor Sculptures _ will open at Houghton Hall — which was built by Britain’s first Prime Minister Sir Robert Walpole — on 25 March 2018. Along with the new spot paintings, the exhibition will include 15 sculptures in the house and its gardens including Hirst’s well-known bronze works, and Dog with Bone, from a new series of super-sized pipe cleaner animals.
“My first ever Spot Painting 1986 was loose and painted with drippy paint, not minimal at all,” Damien Hirst explains. “In that first painting, I was wrestling with what I originally thought of as the coldness of Minimalism and the more emotional, abstract expressionist painting style I’d grown up with. At the time I painted it, it felt uncool and I abandoned it immediately for the rigidity of the grid, removing the mess, but after doing the Spot catalogue raisonné I’ve felt really drawn to that first painting and knew I’d revisit it eventually – maybe it’s because I’m getting older. I realised I was wrong about Minimalism – the simplest, cleanest thing can provoke an emotional response – but the Spot Paintings still play with that idea; despite the grid, they always look happy, although there’s an unease there too because the colours don’t repeat when you expect them to.”
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