Damien Hirst, ‘Beautiful Romance in the Age of Uncertainty Party Painting III’, 2003, Phillips

Property of an Important Asian Collector

From the Catalogue:
Created in 2003, eleven years after the artist’s first foray into spin art, Beautiful Romance in the Age of Uncertainty Party Painting III is a vibrantly coloured, predominantly red, painting from one of Damien Hirst’s most iconic series. With additional elements of green and yellow, this work springs, explodes and catapults outwards from the centre of its circular canvas, capturing the sense of spontaneity essential to the series. In 1993, Hirst collaborated with Angus Fairhurst on A Féte Worst than Death, an artist-led street fair in Shoreditch, London, curated by Joshua Compston. The artists installed a makeshift spin painting station where they invited visitors to pay £1 to create their own spin paintings, to be signed by the pair. Reflecting on this early performance installation, Gregor Muir recounts that for Hirst, spin paintings “proved too useful to be left behind, resulting in his subsequent ‘Spin Painting' series (Gregor Muir and Clarrie Wallis, In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, Tate Britain, London, 2004, p. 91).

The artist describes the spin series as “childish… in the positive sense of the word.They are each given a playful, elongated title bookended by the words ‘Beautiful’ and ‘painting’." (Damien Hirst and Gordon Burn, On the Way to Work, Faber and Faber: 2001, 221) Hirst credits the inspiration for these works to seeing the spin technique as a child at a school fair. Despite the simplicity of its origins, Beautiful Romance in the Age of Uncertainty Party Painting III challenges the use of spontaneity and irreverence in art. The Spin Paintings form a foundational element of Hirst's artistic vocabulary, contributing to seminal exhibitions including his 2012 retrospective at Tate Modern.

Though the reliance on chance in the present lot provides a stark contrast to the meticulous process of Hirst’s other well-known series of spot paintings, both bodies of work deal with the concept of mechanical intervention. To produce these large-scale works, paint is poured from a height onto the large canvases as they are rotated at high speed by a machine in the artist’s studio. Hirst’s use of a rotating machine references the optical experiments of Marcel Duchamp from the 1920s and 30s. Although Duchamp employed spinning turntables and other motorised devices as a means of creating optical illusions, Hirst's contemporary use of the spin machine focuses on the joy inherent to movement. A prominent member of the influential Young British Artists of the late 1980s and 90s, Hirst has since become one of the most internationally acclaimed artists of his generation.

In Beautiful Romance in the Age of Uncertainty Party Painting III, Damien Hirst continues to encourage emotive, instinctual reactions to his work – here inciting feelings of glee and wonder.
Courtesy of Phillips

White Cube Gallery, London
Kukje Gallery, Seoul
Private Collection
Christie’s, Shanghai, 24 October 2014, Lot 221
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

About Damien Hirst

Damien Hirst first came to public attention in London in 1988 when he conceived and curated "Freeze," an exhibition in a disused warehouse that showed his work and that of his friends and fellow students at Goldsmiths College. In the nearly quarter of a century since that pivotal show (which would come to define the Young British Artists), Hirst has become one of the most influential artists of his generation. His groundbreaking works include The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living (1991), a shark in formaldehyde; Mother and Child Divided (1993) a four-part sculpture of a bisected cow and calf; and For the Love of God (2007), a human skull studded with 8,601 diamonds. In addition to his installations and sculptures, Hirst’s Spot paintings and Butterfly paintings have become universally recognized.

British, b. 1965, Bristol, United Kingdom, based in London, United Kingdom