Damien Hirst - New Now London Thursday, December 9, 2021 | Phillips

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  • 'I really like making them. And I really like the machine, and I really like the movement. Every time they’re finished, I’m desperate to do another one.'
    —Damien Hirst

    Exploding out from the centre of its circular canvas in a bright burst of red, black, white and green Beautiful, It's a Beautiful World Made More Beautiful with You in it Painting is a dynamic and absorbing example of Damien Hirst’s iconic Spin Paintings series. Capturing the energy and sense of spontaneity that characterises the series, along with themes of mechanical intervention and chance that recur across Hirst’s oeuvre, the present work records the happy collision of chance and design, generating, ‘a massive explosion of energy – full of life, colour and optimism.’i


    Hirst’s earliest spin experiments date from 1992, the same year that collector Charles Saatchi included the artist in his epoch-defining Young British Artists exhibition. The following year Hirst and fellow YBA Angus Fairhurst developed the concept as part of an artist-led street fair A Fete Worse than Death, where, dressed as clowns, the two artists invited visitors to create their own versions, introducing a performative element that would remain of central importance to the later works. It was in 1994 while living in Berlin that Hirst formalised the series, introducing the circular format and having a spin machine specially made; his first exhibition of spin drawing was mounted in the same year. The Spin Paintings quickly became a central feature of the artist’s practice, presented alongside his Spot Paintings and seminal Natural History formaldehyde series in the No Sense of Absolute Corruption exhibition held at Gagosian in 1996. Throughout the years, the principles applied in the execution of the Spin Paintings have remained the same: featuring long titles framed by the words ‘beautiful’ and ‘picture’, the circular Spin Paintings are created as the artist’s selection of varying colours of household emulsion are poured onto the canvas and mobilised by the rotations of the machine.


    Visually recalling a spinning record on a turntable, the works have a conceptual lineage in Dadaist Marcel Duchamp’s kinetic collaborations, notably the optical effects that he generated with sculptural objects such as Rotary Demisphere (Precision Optics), now forming part of The Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection  in New York. However, while Duchamp’s focus on the mechanised and the optical attempted to remove the hand of the artist altogether, Hirst’s Spin Paintings retain a sense of vitality and individuality through the careful selection of paints and his direct application of them, recalling the performative and energetic application of Jackson Pollock’s poured canvases and the centrifugal force of his later works. 


    Jackson Pollock, Ocean Grayness, 1953, Solomon R. Guggenheim Collection, New York, Image: © NPL - DeA Picture Library / Bridgeman Images, Artwork: © The Pollock-Krasner Foundation ARS, NY and DACS, London 2021

    Celebratory and joyous, the title’s stuttering repetition of ‘beautiful’ not only compounds its association with the Spin Series but echoes the rhythmic action of the spinning canvas and its compositional effects itself. At once balanced and chaotic, Beautiful, It's a Beautiful World Made More Beautiful with You in it Painting makes ‘colours participate in a primordial state where order and creation dissolve and disengage from the meditation of thought and representation, to become pure expression of the basic and vital gesture of painting and its mythology.’ii

    i Damien Hirst, ‘Damien Hirst’s monumental spin artwork in spectacular display at Olympics 2012 Closing Ceremony’, 9 August 2012, online 
    ii M. Codognato, quoted in ‘Warning Labels’, in Damien Hirst (exh. cat.), Museo Archaeological Nazionale, Naples, 2004, p. 42

    • Provenance

      Gifted by the artist to the present owner

    • 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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Beautiful, It's a Beautiful World Made More Beautiful with You in it Painting

signed, titled, dedicated and dated, ''Beautiful, It's a Beautiful World Made More Beautiful with You in it Painting' Damien Hirst; for Roland 2018' on the reverse; further signed 'Dhirst' on the stretcher'
household gloss on canvas
diameter 182.9 cm (72 in.)
Executed in 2018.

Full Cataloguing

£120,000 - 180,000 

Sold for £108,400

Contact Specialist

Simon Tovey
Specialist, Head of New Now Sale
+44 20 7318 4084

New Now

London Auction 9 December 2021