Extended through August 10, 2018
I originally wanted the Spots to look like they were painted by a human trying to paint like a machine. Colour Space is going back to the human element, so instead you have the fallibility of the human hand in the drips and inconsistencies. There are still no two exact colors that repeat in each painting, which is really important to me. I think of them as cells under a microscope.
Gagosian is pleased to present Damien Hirst’s Colour Space Paintings, the first exhibition of the series in the United States, following their presentation earlier this year at Houghton Hall in England.
Evolving from the iconic Spot Paintings, which are among Hirst’s most recognized works, the Colour Space Paintings revisit the free and spontaneous nature of his first two spot paintings from 1986, exactly thirty years later. As Hirst recalls, “My first ever Spot Painting was loose and painted with drippy paint and not minimal at all. In that painting, I was wrestling with what I originally thought of as the coldness of Minimalism and the more emotional Abstract Expressionist painting style I’d grown up with. At the time I painted it, it felt uncool and I abandoned it immediately for the rigidity of the grid, removing the mess, but after doing the Spot catalogue raisonné I’ve felt really drawn to that first painting and knew I’d revisit it eventually.”
While the Spot Paintings were originally conceived as an endless series, the Colour Space Paintings are a finite body of work, commenced and completed in 2016. The latter adhere to some of the formal rules established for the Spot Paintings: no single color is ever repeated in a painting, and the dot size—ranging from one quarter of an inch to four inches in diameter—is consistent within each work. However, without the logic of the grid and the symmetry of the perfect circle, the Colour Space Paintings appear looser, more stochastic, and more open to incident than the Spot Paintings. Here, Hirst’s imperfect discs overlap and jostle in a riot of color, like so many particles under a microscope.
Colour Space directly follows Hirst’s exhibition of The Veil Paintings at Gagosian Beverly Hills, which opened in March. In the Veil Paintings, Hirst revisited his Visual Candy series of the early nineties, in which vivid colors overlap in loose ovals of thick impasto or pointillist-style dots. The Colour Space Paintings similarly reveal the interplay in his approach between the systematic and the painterly, the rational and the expressive.
Gagosian Quarterly Fall 2021
The Fall 2021 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, featuring Damien Hirst’s Reclining Woman (2011) on its cover.
For Sale: Baby Shoes. Never Worn.
Sydney Stutterheim meditates on the power and possibilities of small-format artworks throughout time.
In the Studio: Damien Hirst’s Veil Paintings
Damien Hirst speaks about his Veil paintings with Gagosian’s Alison McDonald. “I wanted to make paintings that were a celebration,” he says, “and that revealed something and obscured something at the same time.”
Damien Hirst: Visual Candy
James Fox considers the origins of Damien Hirst’s Visual Candy paintings on the occasion of a recent exhibition of these early works in Hong Kong.
Damien Hirst: Colour Space Paintings
Blake Gopnik examines the artist’s “dot” paintings in relation to the history of representation in Western art, in which dabs of paint have served as fundamental units of depiction and markers of objective truth.
The River Café Cookbook
London’s River Café, a culinary mecca perched on a bend in the River Thames, celebrated its thirtieth anniversary in 2018. To celebrate this milestone and the publication of her cookbook River Café London, cofounder Ruth Rogers sat down with Derek Blasberg to discuss the famed restaurant’s allure.
Emergency Paintings, Danger Paintings, Hazard Pictures and Seizures
Open from October 5, 2021
Britannia Street, London