Damien Hirst has a habit of falling back on his crowd pleasers after launching a new series of work, especially if that new series fails to excite the market or imagination. We saw it with the Bacon-inspired paintings that were debuted at the Wallace Collection. Those duds were followed by the global Spot painting exhibition. Last year we had the debut of Hirst’s sunken treasure fantasy which received a lot of attention (and for which many sales were claimed) but few outside of Hirst’s camp of fellow travelers have buzzed about buying works.
Today Hirst’s firm announces a combination of the two tactics. We’re back at an Old Master venue, Houghton Hall, once the site of one of the world’s great art collections when Walpole lived there. But the Old Masters are being taken down to show Hirst’s latest variations on the the Spots, which seem to be quite small and intimate compared to previous examples in the series.
A series of new paintings by Damien Hirst entitled Colour Space will be installed in the State Rooms at Houghton Hall for the exhibition Damien Hirst at Houghton Hall from 25 March – 15 July 2018. The exhibition will also include a number of the artist’s most celebrated sculptures which will be installed throughout the 18th-century house and gardens.
The Colour Space paintings have never been shown in public before and are a development of the Spot Paintings which are among the artist’s most recognised works. Where the Spot Paintings of the 1980s and 90s use the logic of a machine, the Colour Space paintings are looser and more organic in appearance and allow for evidence of the human hand.
Six sculptures will be installed outdoors in the park featuring some of the artist’s most famous and visually arresting works. They include the celebrated Virgin Mother (2005–2006) which was shown in the courtyard of the Royal Academy in 2006, and Charity (2002–2003) which was installed on Hoxton Square in 2003 and outside the Royal West of England Academy of Art in Bristol in 2011.
Three sculptures will be installed in the house: Saint Bartholomew, Exquisite Pain (2006) in the Entrance Hall, and two smaller kinetic sculptures from the artist’s “levitation” series featuring air blowers and table tennis balls, in the celebrated Stone Hall.