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Saturday, 23 February 2013

ad infinitum

Damien Hirst. Hypothalamus Acetone Powder. Household gloss on canvas.

I really can’t believe I’m writing about Damien Hirst again. A year or two ago, I didn’t even like Damien Hirst. And I’m writing about the spot paintings, of all things. What can there possibly be to say about the spot paintings?

That in them, Hirst takes visual art to the place of pure math. Each painting generated by the same parameters, the same formula. Each with slight variations on the theme: so many permutations and combinations. So much measurement, so much perfection. 

And yet they’re not static. The colours don’t stay where they are placed. They push and they pull. They pulse like irregular heartbeats, keeping the irregular tempo of our irregular lives. They throb. They become music; notes freed from the staff lines, floating on the blank white page.

They are the measured beats of poetry. They scan like a poem, in iambic pentameter maybe. Or some other longer, more random rhythmic construction, as yet unnamed. They are the structure of a free verse poem without the words. Without the meanings. Without the voice.

Ad infinitum.

Damien Hirst. Methoxyverapamil. 1991. Household gloss on canvas.

Damien Hirst. One of the spot paintings. Household gloss on canvas.

Damien Hirst. Untitled (Nick, Margot, Chris, India). 1999.
Household gloss on canvas.

Damien Hirst, spot painting.

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