Damien Hirst - 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Evening Sale Hong Kong Saturday, November 25, 2017 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    White Cube Gallery, London
    Kukje Gallery, Seoul
    Private Collection
    Christie’s, Shanghai, 24 October 2014, Lot 221
    Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    Created in 2003, eleven years after the artist’s first foray into spin art, Beautiful Romance in the Age of Uncertainty Party Painting III is a vibrantly coloured, predominantly red, painting from one of Damien Hirst’s most iconic series. With additional elements of green and yellow, this work springs, explodes and catapults outwards from the centre of its circular canvas, capturing the sense of spontaneity essential to the series. In 1993, Hirst collaborated with Angus Fairhurst on A Féte Worst than Death, an artist-led street fair in Shoreditch, London, curated by Joshua Compston. The artists installed a makeshift spin painting station where they invited visitors to pay £1 to create their own spin paintings, to be signed by the pair. Reflecting on this early performance installation, Gregor Muir recounts that for Hirst, spin paintings “proved too useful to be left behind, resulting in his subsequent ‘Spin Painting' series (Gregor Muir and Clarrie Wallis, In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, Tate Britain, London, 2004, p. 91).

    The artist describes the spin series as “childish… in the positive sense of the word.They are each given a playful, elongated title bookended by the words ‘Beautiful’ and ‘painting’." (Damien Hirst and Gordon Burn, On the Way to Work, Faber and Faber: 2001, 221) Hirst credits the inspiration for these works to seeing the spin technique as a child at a school fair. Despite the simplicity of its origins, Beautiful Romance in the Age of Uncertainty Party Painting III challenges the use of spontaneity and irreverence in art. The Spin Paintings form a foundational element of Hirst's artistic vocabulary, contributing to seminal exhibitions including his 2012 retrospective at Tate Modern.

    Though the reliance on chance in the present lot provides a stark contrast to the meticulous process of Hirst’s other well-known series of spot paintings, both bodies of work deal with the concept of mechanical intervention. To produce these large-scale works, paint is poured from a height onto the large canvases as they are rotated at high speed by a machine in the artist’s studio. Hirst’s use of a rotating machine references the optical experiments of Marcel Duchamp from the 1920s and 30s. Although Duchamp employed spinning turntables and other motorised devices as a means of creating optical illusions, Hirst's contemporary use of the spin machine focuses on the joy inherent to movement. A prominent member of the influential Young British Artists of the late 1980s and 90s, Hirst has since become one of the most internationally acclaimed artists of his generation.

    In Beautiful Romance in the Age of Uncertainty Party Painting III, Damien Hirst continues to encourage emotive, instinctual reactions to his work – here inciting feelings of glee and wonder.

  • Artist Biography

    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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Property of an Important Asian Collector


Beautiful Romance in the Age of Uncertainty Party Painting III

household gloss on canvas
diameter 213.4 cm. (84 in.)
Executed in 2003.

HK$2,500,000 - 3,500,000 

Sold for HK$3,340,000

Contact Specialist
Jonathan Crockett
Deputy Chairman, Asia and Head of 20th Century & Contemporary Art, Asia
+852 2318 2023

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Specialist, Head of Evening Sale
+852 2318 2025

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20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Evening Sale

Hong Kong Auction 26 November 2017