Damien Hirst - Evening & Day Editions London Wednesday, June 7, 2023 | Phillips
  • “An involvement with death and decay, and ideas and life: the action of the world on things exists somewhere, and the colour exists somewhere else. And it’s fantastic.” 
    —Damien Hirst

    Based on his iconic Spin Paintings – the ebullient series the artist has incessantly developed for nearly two decades since the early 1990s – Damien Hirst created the print portfolios In a Spin, the Action of the World on Things, Volume I and Volume II (lots 40 and 41) with a similar technique: copperplates were first attached to a spin machine, then linear forms were drawn with various sharp tools such as screwdrivers and needles as the machine rotated.


    Adopting a populist approach to artmaking, Hirst drew inspiration from Blue Peter — the UK children’s television programme that he grew up with — in devising the spin technique. Following his initial experimentation in 1992, Hirst hosted a spin art stall with fellow artist Angus Fairhurst at the street fair ‘A Fete Worse than Death’ in the subsequent year, where members of the public were invited to create their own spin paintings. As he continued to refine the process, Hirst invested in his own spin machine, and substituted rectangular canvases with circular ones, onto which household paints were directly poured from a ladder to accentuate the explosive centrifugal energy. 



    “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 on his Spin Paintings

    Compared to the exuberance of the expressionistic and unpredictable Spin Paintings, the regularity and repetition of the spins in the printed volumes bear more visual traces of the mechanical rotations. Yet the application of splashes of vivid colours, made possible by a combination of soft and hard ground etching, add a painterly touch while attesting to the laborious process of etching. Each portfolio also comes with a unique spin painting on the front cover, which highlights the unmistakable continuity between Hirst’s printmaking and painting practices. 

    • Provenance

      The Paragon Press, London
      Acquired from the above by the present owner, 2002

    • Literature

      The Paragon Press 2001-2006 pp. 76-87

    • Catalogue Essay

      Including Circles in the Sand; Burning Wheel; I get around; Liberty; My way; I saw the half of the moon; There's more to life than making jam and having kids; Global-a-go-go; Spin me right round; Lavender baby; Oh my God...and for those really stubborn stains; Tie a yellow ribbon round the old oak tree; All around the world; Wheel meet again; Orbital; Billy Mill roundabout; Spinning Wheel; Wheel within a wheel; Like a snowball down a mountain; Ring-a-ring of roses; In a spin; Round; and You threw a melon at my head.

    • 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.

      View More Works

Property from an American Collection


In a Spin, the Action of the World on Things, Volume I

The complete set of 23 etchings in colours, on Hahnemühle paper, with full margins, the sheets loose (as issued), all contained in the original portfolio with a unique spin painting in household paint and screenprinted title in gold on the cover.
all I. various sizes
all S. 90.8 x 70.8 cm (35 3/4 x 27 7/8 in.)
portfolio 97.2 x 75.6 x 2.5 cm (38 1/4 x 29 3/4 x 7/8 in.)

All etchings signed in pencil, numbered '15' in pencil on the colophon, from the edition of 68 (there were also 12 artist's proof sets), published by The Paragon Press, London, all unframed.

Full Cataloguing

£30,000 - 50,000 ‡♠

Sold for £25,400

Contact Specialist

+44 20 7318 4091

Rebecca Tooby-Desmond
Specialist, Head of Sale, Editions

Robert Kennan
Head of Editions, Europe

Anne Schneider-Wilson
Senior International Specialist, Editions

Louisa Earl
Associate Specialist, Editions

Evening & Day Editions

London Auction 7 - 8 June 2023