Damien Hirst - Contemporary Art Day Sale New York Friday, November 14, 2014 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    White Cube, London

  • Exhibited

    New York, Gagosian Gallery, Damien Hirst: The Complete Spot Paintings 1986 - 2011, January 12 - February 18, 2012

  • Literature

    Damien Hirst: The Complete Spot Paintings 1986 - 2011, exh. cat., Gagosian Gallery/Other Criteria, 2011, p. 368 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Damien Hirst completed his first spot painting in 1986. Envisioned as an endless series, the project now includes over 1,000 works created over the course of nearly three decades. In an interview Hirst said, “I have always liked series…I like it when there is more than one way of saying something. Like songs in an album.”(D. Hirst, E. Cicelyn, M. Codognato, M. D'Argenzio, "Pharmaceutical Heaven," Damien Hirst: Napoli, Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Napoli, 2004, p. 96). Painted in 2005, Asp-Val exemplifies the later stages of the prolific Spot Paintings project on an intimate scale.

    Hirst has used the spot paintings to investigate the bounds of painting as a medium. At the time of his education the emotional vigor of 1950s Abstract Expressionism was championed by the artistic community. Rather than capturing a raw, emotional state with oil on canvas, Hirst distills painting to a scientific approach. In each work, spots are laid across the canvas at regular intervals. He intended for the Spot Paintings to appear made by “...a person trying to paint like a machine” (D. Hirst, R. Violette, "On Painting Dumb," Damien Hirst: I Want to Spend the Rest of My Life Everywhere, with Everyone, One to One, Always, Forever, Now, London, 2005, p. 251).

    With their systematic format, Hirst believes that the Spot Paintings recall “the drug companies’ scientific approach to life” (Ibid, p. 246). Asp-Val belongs to a particular set of spot paintings called the “Carbon-13 Labelled Compounds.” In chemistry, labeled compounds are used as intermediate substances in the synthesis of other compounds. Hirst uses this technical terminology to reiterate the scientific approach of the series.

    Despite apparent uniformity, a distinct unease pervades in each iteration of the Spot Paintings. Every spot on each canvas is painted in a distinct hue: sky blue, canary yellow, burnt orange, forest green and flushed pink. Because no color is repeated twice, there is no clear focus. Like nearly all of Hirst’s Spot Paintings, Asp-Val pulsates between the fixity of its grid and the chromatic chaos of the dots. The observer’s eye does not settle on a single point, but wanders throughout the canvas, stimulated by the possibility of infinitely variable color.

    In 2012 Asp-Val was featured in Gagosian Gallery’s major exhibition “The Complete Spot Paintings 1986 – 2011.” The present lot provides a seminal example of Hirst’s project and his interrogation of painting, color and abstraction in the contemporary era.

  • 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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household gloss on canvas
30 x 26 in. (76.2 x 66 cm)
Signed and dated "Damien Hirst 2005" on the reverse; further signed "D Hirst" on the stretcher.

$200,000 - 300,000 

Contact Specialist
Kate Bryan
Head of Day Sale
New York
+ 1 212 940 1267

Contemporary Art Day Sale

New York Auction 14 November 2014 11am