In Colour Space (2018) prints, Damien Hirst’s iconic spot motif breaks free from his usual composition of an orderly grid. The prints’ freehand composition creates a Pollock-esque riot of colour and mishap that showcases, in Hirst’s words, ‘the fallibility of the human hand in the drips and inconsistencies.’
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Produced in 2018 as a set of 8 prints, Damien Hirst’s H5 Colour Space series demonstrates the artist’s ongoing negotiation with coloured dots. Playing into an artistic focus that has been a constant throughout his career, ever since his famous Spots, Hirst’s Colour Space paintings, which these prints are based on, were first exhibited at the Gagosian Gallery in New York in 2018.
The Colour Space collection presents a variation on Hirst’s spot paintings but exudes a more human and painterly aesthetic. Rather than depicting clinical and perfectly painted circles, the prints in this series show hundreds of dots spontaneously dancing across the composition, sometimes overlapping, and coinciding with the occasional paint splatter. The impulsive quality of this series resembles Jackson Pollock’s abstract expressionist works and is far more expressive than Hirst’s earlier works depicting spots and dots.
Despite abandoning the grid formulation of his earlier works, this very recent collection of Hirst prints does still adhere to the basic rules of artist’s spot paintings. He recalled, '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 colours that repeat in each painting, which is really important to me. I think of them as cells under a microscope.'