Published as part of Damien Hirst’s second volume of In A Spin, The Action Of The World Upon Things, Helter Skelter is an etching from 2002. The print shows concentric circles in the centre of the composition, rendered in thin, scratchy lines, producing an image that is energetic and dynamic.
The In In A Spin, The Action Of The World Upon Things portfolio is an extension of Hirst’s very well known Spin Paintings. The Spin Paintings were first conceived in 1993 at the event ‘A Fete Worse Than Death,’ alongside Angus Fairhurst. The curator Gregor Muir has recounted: “Using an inverted electric drill and a piece of wood onto which they could fasten sheets of paper, Fairhurst and Hirst set up a spin painting stall – an idea borrowed from a once popular children’s game using painting and an old record player cranked up to 78rpm. A spin painting cost £1 to produce and was signed by both artists on the reverse. In Hirst’s case, the idea proved too useful to be left behind, resulting in his subsequent ‘Spin Paintings’.”
To create the Spin Paintings Hirst attached a large circular canvas to a spin machine in his studio, then throwing paint onto the spinning canvas to create abstract painterly marks. The etchings in this portfolio were produced using a very similar technique, attaching copper plates to the machine, and drawing the spiral lines with needles, screwdrivers, and other sharp tools as they spun.