Methanol-C

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  • Condition Report

    Request Condition Report
  • Provenance

    Gagosian Gallery, London
    Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2007

  • Literature

    Damien Hirst, Jason Beard and Millicent Wilner eds., The Complete Spot Paintings, 1986 – 2011, Damien Hirst, London and New York, 2013, pp. 518, 852 (illustrated, p. 518)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Damien Hirst rose to prominence in the 1990s as part of the first generation of the Young British Artists (YBAs). Winning the Turner Prize in 1995 cemented Hirst’s reputation as a provocateur willing to challenge long-established dogmas and taboos surrounding definitions of art, science, religion and death, and today he is widely acknowledged as a pioneer of the British contemporary art world.

    Damien Hirst’s Spot Paintings are amongst his most recognisable yet enigmatic works, in particular his Pharmaceutical series of works which draw their titles at random from a catalogue of biochemicals Hirst first encountered in the early 1990s. The title of Methanol-C (a toxic form of alcohol which can be converted to formaldehyde) is a significant example of Hirst’s ongoing search for meaning between the realms of science, death and art. Hirst’s fascination with science stemmed from a teenage preoccupation with exploring the ‘unacceptable idea’ of death (as part of this process Hirst made regular drawing visits to the Leeds anatomy school). In seeking to reconcile the idea of death in life he embraced many different forms of art, ranging from the unnatural clinical brightness of the Spot Paintings to the controversial and iconic The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living of 1991, a work comprising a museum-like glass vitrine containing a tiger shark preserved in formaldehyde.

    Hirst began experimenting with coloured spots in preparation for his breakout Freeze exhibition in 1988, painting these directly onto the wall of the warehouse. Afterwards he gradually refined his process, departing from years of spontaneous experimentation with paint and collage and instead attempting to erase any physical evidence of human intervention in his Spot Paintings. He devised a set of formal rules: no single colour ever to be repeated in the same painting, consistent dot size and shape, and a rigid grid system that would allow an infinite series of unique works to be created. It was a departure from the Abstract Expressionist painting style he had grown up with:

    “I wanted to find a way to use colour in paintings that wasn’t expressionism. I was taught by painters who believed that as an artist you paint how you feel and I believed in that for a long time. And then I lost faith in it and wanted to create a system where whatever decisions you make within a painting, the paintings end up happy. And I came up with Spot Paintings.”
    (Interview with Reuters, “A Minute With: Damien Hirst on hitting the "spot" ”, 11 January 2012, online)

    It was a happy discovery for Hirst, who described his Spot Paintings as a means of “pinning down the joy of colour” (quoted in Damien Hirst and Gordon Burn, On the Way to Work, London, 2001, p. 119). Though undoubtedly beautiful in their simplicity, Hirst challenges the viewer to consider the tension inherent in the rigidity of the composition and the randomness of colour, a parallel for the vibrant uniqueness of life and the rigid inevitability of death. As with all of Hirst’s works, Methanol-C belies a deeper sense of existential anxiety:

    "If you look closely at any one of these paintings a strange thing happens: because of the lack of repeated colours, there is no harmony … So in every painting there is a subliminal sense of unease; yet the colours project so much joy it’s hard to feel it, but it’s there." (Damien Hirst, I Want to Spend the Rest of My Life Everywhere, with Everyone, One to One, Always, Forever, Now, London, 1997, p. 246).

    Hirst has been honoured with solo retrospectives at leading public institutions, including Damien Hirst at the Tate Modern, London (2012) and Relics at the Qatar Museums Authority , Doha (2013). Hirst’s works are held in numerous permanent collections, including the Tate in London, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the National Galleries of Scotland in Edinburgh. The artist lives and works in London, Gloucestershire and Devon.

  • Catalogue Essay

    作為第一代英國青年藝術家群體(YBA)的一份子,達明安.赫斯特在20世紀90年代開始嶄露頭角。 1995年獲得特納藝術獎( Turner Prize for Art),鞏固了赫斯特作為一名挑釁者的聲譽,挑戰著長期以來關於藝術、科學、宗教和死亡根深蒂固的教條與禁忌,今天他已被公認為是英國當代藝術世界的先驅人物。

    達明安.赫斯特的圓點畫系列是他最為人知且最讓人著迷的作品之一,從他的《藥房》系列作品開始,作品名稱隨機選自赫斯特在1990年代初期首次邂逅的生物化學品目錄。《甲醇-C》(一種可以轉化為甲醛的有毒形式的酒精)的標題作為一個重要的列子,表明了赫斯特在科學、死亡和藝術三個領域之間對意義的不斷尋求。赫斯特對科學的迷戀源於青少年時期對探索死亡的「不可接受的想法」之專注(出於這一興趣,赫斯特曾多次到利茲解剖學學校進行寫生)。為了與生命中必定存在死亡這一概念去做和解,他用許多不同的形式創作了藝術作品,從透出醫院般冰冷、非自然明亮的圓點畫,到他1991年備受爭議的標誌性作品《生者心目中無謂之死亡恐懼》( The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living),一條用甲醛保存在如博物館藏品形式之玻璃櫃中的虎鯊。

    赫斯特在準備他嶄露頭角的展覽《冰凍》(Freeze)時開始對彩色圓點畫進行實驗,將圓點直接繪在倉庫的牆面上。之後,他將此逐漸完善,離開多年來對顏料自發性的實驗和拼貼,試圖在他的圓點畫中抹去人手的痕跡。他設計了一套形式的規則:在一幅畫中不重複出現任何一種顏色,保持圓點大小和形狀的一致,以及一個不變的網格系統,從而能夠讓獨立的作品組合成無限的系列。這是與伴隨他成長的代表著「感情化」和「雜亂」的抽象表現主義繪畫風格的分離:

    「我想找到一種不是表現主義的繪畫色彩使用方法。過去有一些畫家教我,作為一名藝術家,他們相信要去畫出你的感受,而我很長一段時間以來也相信這一點。然後我對此失去了信念,並希望創建一套系統,無論你在一幅畫中做出什麼決定,畫作都會是表現高興的情緒。於是我想出了圓點畫。“(路透社採訪,《一分鐘:達明安.赫斯特講關於「圓點」》,2012年1月11日,網路文章)

    對赫斯特來說,這是一個幸福的發現,赫斯特將他的圓點畫描述為「對色彩愉悅的解釋」(引自達明安.赫斯特和戈登.伯恩,《去工作的途中》,倫敦,2001年,第 119頁)。雖然簡潔中透著無庸置疑的美麗,但赫斯特卻要求觀者去思考刻板的構圖所帶來的固有之緊繃,以及色彩的隨機性,象徵著生命的獨特活力與死亡之無從避免。如赫斯特的所有作品一樣,《甲醇-C》底下所蘊藏的是更深層的存在焦慮感:

    「如果你仔細觀察這些畫中的任何一幅,就會發現一件奇怪的事情:因為缺乏重複出現的色彩,也就沒有了和諧......所以在每幅畫中都有一種潛意識的不安感;然而,因為這些色彩傳遞了那麼多的喜悅,所以很難被感受到,但確實存在。」(達明安.赫斯特,《我想在各地度過餘生,與大家一對一,永遠,永遠,現在》,倫敦,1997年,第246頁)。

    赫斯特曾在一些重要的公共機構舉辦個人回顧展,其中包括在倫敦的泰特現代美術館舉辦的《達明安.赫斯特》(2012)和在多哈的卡塔爾博物館管理局舉辦的《文物》( Relics)(2013)。赫斯特的作品被包括倫敦的泰特美術館、紐約的大都會藝術博物館和現代藝術博物館,以及愛丁堡的蘇格蘭國家美術館等諸多美術館收為永久館藏。藝術家目前居住和工作於倫敦、格洛斯特郡和德文郡。

  • Artist Bio

    Damien Hirst

    British • 1965

    There is no other contemporary artist as maverick to the art market as Damien Hirst. Foremost among the Young British Artists (YBAs), a group of provocative artists who graduated from Goldsmiths, University of London in the late 1980s, Hirst ascended to stardom by making objects that shocked and appalled, and that possessed conceptual depth in both profound and prankish ways.

    Regarded as Britain's most notorious living artist, Hirst has studded human skulls in diamonds and submerged sharks, sheep and other dead animals in custom vitrines of formaldehyde. In tandem with Cheyenne Westphal, now Chairman of Phillips, Hirst controversially staged an entire exhibition directly for auction with 2008's "Beautiful Inside My Head Forever," which collectively totalled £111 million ($198 million).

    Hirst remains genre-defying and creates everything from sculpture, prints, works on paper and paintings to installation and objects. Another of his most celebrated series, the 'Pill Cabinets' present rows of intricate pills, cast individually in metal, plaster and resin, in sterilized glass and steel containers; Phillips New York showed the largest of these pieces ever exhibited in the United States, The Void, 2000, in May 2017.

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Methanol-C

2007
signed, titled and dated 'Damien Hirst "Methanol-C" 2007) on the reverse; further signed 'Damien Hirst' on the stretcher
household gloss on canvas
175.3 x 160 cm. (69 x 62 7/8 in.)
Executed in 2007.

Estimate
HK$3,000,000 - 4,000,000 
€340,000-453,000
$385,000-513,000

Place Advance Bid

Contact Specialist
Isaure de Viel Castel
Head of Department, 20th Century & Contemporary Art

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

Hong Kong Auction 26 May 2019