Spinning Wheel is an etching by Damien Hirst from the first volume of his 2002 In A Spin, The Action of The World Upon Things series. This etching is colourful and energetic, depicting concentric circles made up of thin, scratchy lines. The composition is dynamic in its simplistic use of line that conveys speed and movement.
All the etchings in the In A Spin, The Action Of The World Upon Things portfolio are variations on Hirst’s famous spin paintings. For these etchings Hirst attached copper plates to a spin machine in his studio, onto which he drew the wiry lines with sharp tools. Hirst’s spin paintings were partly inspired by a long exposure photograph where he captured the movement of the stars in the sky caused by the rotation of the earth. This activity inspired the expression articulated in the title, ‘The Action of the World on Things’.
The second half of the series’ title, ‘The Action of the World on Things’ derives from a phrase the artist coined in 1999 when he was clarifying the origins of his spot paintings. He distinguished two aspects of his work: “an involvement with death and decay, and ideas and life: the action of the world on things exists somewhere, and the colour exists somewhere else. And it’s fantastic.” In A Spin, The Action Of The World Upon Things is said to unite these two elements of Hirst’s work.