Twisted Insobriety is an etching by Damien Hirst from the second volume of his 2002 In A Spin, The Action Of The World Upon Things series. Produced as a set of 23 etchings, Hirst based this series of etchings on his famous Spin Paintings. This print shows tightly rendered concentric circles that reach beyond the edge of the copperplate at the very edge and convey a sense of movement and speed. Twisted Insobriety is depicted in such a way that it is reminiscent of a shooting target.
To create the In A Spin, The Action Of The World on Things, Hirst attached copper plates to a spin machine in his studio, drawing on them with sharp tools as the machine rotated. The use of the rotating machine is reminiscent of the optical experiments of the Dada artist Marcel Duchamp from the 1920s and ’30s. While Duchamp used motorised spinning devices to create optical illusions, Hirst instead uses a spin machine towards aesthetic and expressionistic ends.
Hirst has described his Spin paintings as “childish…in the positive sense of the word.” The Spin paintings and this series of etchings are characterised by chance and spontaneity, with the hand of the artist removed from compositional choice. Set in contrast to the formulaic Spot series, both portfolios are provocative for their exploration of an imaginary mechanical painter. Each spin painting and etching is the result of Hirst’s colour choice and the rotations of the machine. Hirst explains: “I really like making them. And I really like the machine, and I really like the movement. Every time they’re finished, I’m desperate to do another one.”