H5-8 Raffles is a print from 2018 taken from Damien Hirst’s Colour Space series. The print shows several circular dots to form an all-over composition, rendering a sense of playfulness and joy due to Hirst’s bright colour choice. This print negotiates the artist’s ongoing relationship with dots that has been a constant throughout his oeuvre and this series is based on his early Spot paintings.
The Spot paintings were compelling due to their potential towards endlessness, but the Colour Space paintings and this series of prints mark a turn in Hirst’s attitude towards his work because they are a finite set of works. The Colour Space series adheres to many of the rules from the original Spot paintings in that no single colour is repeated across each composition and every dot is the same size. The crucial difference is that the Colour Space series does not follow the strict grid-like formula that the Spot paintings were bound to, thus producing a much more expressive set of works.
As Hirst explains, “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.”