Damien Hirst - Evening & Day Editions London Wednesday, June 7, 2023 | Phillips
  • “Great art – or good art – is when you look at it, experience it and it stays in your mind.”
    —Damien Hirst

    Damien Hirst, Beautiful Flailing, Falling, Grip on Reality, Pull Yourself Together Painting, 2008. Image/Artwork: © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd.
    All rights reserved, DACS/Artimage 2023. Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates


    Created using a Jacquard loom, Prophecy is one of twelve monumental tapestries that Damien Hirst produced in 2016 as part of an experimental series titled Enter the Infinite (The Visions). Derived from the organic compositions Hirst achieved through his renowned Spin Paintings, the designs for these tapestries were conversely created using a precise mathematical process; for each work, sections of Hirst’s 2008 Spin Painting titled Beautiful Flailing, Falling, Grip on Reality, Pull Yourself Together Painting were divided, reflected, and repeated to form prismatic bursts of colour. Perfectly symmetrical, Hirst’s fabric designs recall Rorschach Inkblots – a projective psychological test where a viewer’s personality and emotional functioning are analysed from their interpretations of an ambiguous image. Confronted with an organised chaos of reds, blues, greens, and yellows, Hirst’s Prophecy envelops a viewer - pushing the human eye to its limits and demanding engagement with the psyche.


    Hermann Rorschach, Inkblot. Image: GRANGER - Historical Picture Archive / Alamy Stock Photo


    Hirst’s tapestries deliberately play with the concepts of depth and perception, with each work appearing to pulsate as the eye attempts to calibrate the fluctuations between inward and outward motion. As demonstrated in Mark Rothko’s renowned colour-field paintings, flat planes of juxtaposing colours create an illusion which engages the viewer, as they endeavour to comprehend which areas of the image are advancing or receding. All twelve of Hirst’s tapestries contain a focal point at their centres, which serve almost like the eye of a storm: an oasis of calm amid an energetic environment. Situated in the middle of Prophecy, a small yellow shape containing a dark blue square immediately draws the eye deep into the heart of the design. From this central point, a small cross-like shape extends outwards, which is further mimicked - predominantly in red - on a much larger scale as the composition expands. The result is an uneasy visual journey, as the eye is drawn into the centre of the tapestry before being promptly expelled – a repetitive cycle that engulfs an onlooker. Rather than allowing his work to be viewed passively, Hirst’s illusionistic Prophecy commands visual attention, luring the viewer in to partake in this kaleidoscopic, entrancing experience.


    Mark Rothko, Untitled, 1957, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Image: © National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Artwork: © Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko / DACS 2023

    Famed for his numerous artistic explorations of the intersections between science, art and religion, the titles of Hirst’s individual tapestries - and the Enter the Infinite series in its entirety - signify the artist’s attempts to construct a transcendental experience through art. Alongside Prophecy, works such as Revelation, Trance and Exaltation demonstrate Hirst’s intention to create art that is not solely viewed, but instead encountered and remembered as an ineffably transformational interaction, akin to a religious experience.






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    • Provenance

      Acquired directly from the artist by the current owner
      Private Collection, London

    • Literature

      HENI Productions H1-11

    • 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 a Private London Collection


Prophecy, from Enter the Infinite (The Visions) (H1-11)

Jacquard-woven tapestry in colours.
251.5 x 253.5 cm (99 x 99 3/4 in.)
Signed and numbered 20/20 in black felt-tip pen on the fabric label affixed to the reverse (there were also 4 artist's proofs), published by HENI Productions, London.

Full Cataloguing

£40,000 - 60,000 

Sold for £50,800

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Evening & Day Editions

London Auction 7 - 8 June 2023