New Damien Hirst exhibition opens at Houghton Hall

A series of new paintings by Damien Hirst, which have never been shown in public before, will go on display in the State Rooms at Houghton Hall for the exhibition Damien Hirst at Houghton Hall: Colour Space Paintings and Outdoor Sculptures.

The 46 new paintings, from a series entitled Colour Space, are a development of the iconic Spot Paintings, which are among the artist’s most recognised works. The Colour Space series sees a return to his first Spot Painting made in 1986. The new paintings are much looser in form than the minimal grid style with which he is now synonymous.

Damien Hirst, Colour Space series, in the Saloon at HOUGHTON HALL, NORFOLK ©Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2018 Photo by Pete Huggins
Damien Hirst, Colour Space series, in the Saloon at HOUGHTON HALL, NORFOLK ©Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2018 Photo by Pete Huggins

As Hirst has explained:

“My first ever Spot Painting [1986] was loose and painted with drippy paint, not minimal at all. In that first 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 – maybe it’s because I’m getting older. I realised I was wrong about Minimalism – the simplest, cleanest thing can provoke an emotional response – but the Spot Paintings still play with that idea; despite the grid they always look happy, although there’s an unease there too because the colours don’t repeat when you expect them to. 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 mportant to me. I think of them as cells under a microscope. It felt right to show them somewhere historic rather than in a conventional gallery space and Houghton’s perfect. It feels totally right.”

Damien Hirst, Temple, in the Pleasure Grounds at HOUGHTON HALL, NORFOLK ©Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2018 Photo by Pete Huggins FAD MAGAZINE
Damien Hirst, Temple, in the Pleasure Grounds at HOUGHTON HALL, NORFOLK ©Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2018 Photo by Pete Huggins

The exhibition also includes 15 sculptures, amongst these are some of the artist’s most iconic large-scale bronze works, which are displayed in Houghton’s grounds. A number of sculptures are also shown inside the house, including two kinetic ball works from Hirst’s Mental Escapology series (both 2000). Dog with Bone (2017) is from a new series of scaled-up pipe cleaner animals and is displayed alongside two rotating Spin Paintings.

Damien Hirst, Space, Time, Form, Matter, Substance, Change and Motion and Observe, Identify, Reason, Analyse, Measure, Modify and Reproduce, in The Stone Hall at HOUGHTON HALL, NORFOLK ©Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2018 Photo by Pete Huggins FAD MAGAZINE
Damien Hirst, Space, Time, Form, Matter, Substance, Change and Motion and Observe, Identify, Reason, Analyse, Measure, Modify and Reproduce, in The Stone Hall at HOUGHTON HALL, NORFOLK
©Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2018
Photo by Pete Huggins

Damien Hirst, Charity, by the stables at HOUGHTON HALL, NORFOLK ©Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2018 Photo by Pete Huggins FAD MAGAZINE
Damien Hirst, Charity, by the stables at HOUGHTON HALL, NORFOLK ©Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2018 Photo by Pete Huggins

Damien Hirst, The Virgin Mother, in the Pleasure Grounds at HOUGHTON HALL, NORFOLK ©Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2018 Photo by Pete Huggins FAD MAGAZINE
Damien Hirst, The Virgin Mother, in the Pleasure Grounds at HOUGHTON HALL, NORFOLK ©Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2018 Photo by Pete Huggins

The exhibition is curated by Mario Codognato, who had worked on several of the artist’s previous projects including his first retrospective in Naples, The Agony and the Ecstasy: Selected Works from 1989–2004, Museo Archeologico Nazionale de Napoli 2004-5 and Candy: Damien Hirst & Felix Gonzales-Torres, Blain|Southern, London, 2013.

Lord Cholmondeley, owner of Houghton, said:

”We are delighted to have this opportunity to show Damien Hirst’s new paintings in the State Rooms at Houghton, together with some of his best-known sculptures in the grounds. It is the first time that Hirst has shown a significant body of work in a classical country house setting.”

Damien Hirst at Houghton Hall: Colour Space Paintings and Outdoor Sculptures 25 March – 15 July 2018
www.houghtonhall.com

To coincide with the exhibition, Hirst’s 20ft bronze sculpture, Hymn (1999–2005) will be shown at Norwich University of the Arts (NUA) from 26 March to 29 July. The sculpture will be in place through the Norfolk and Norwich Festival in May.


Damien Hirst, Sensation, by St. Martin’s Church at HOUGHTON HALL, NORFOLK ©Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2018 Photo by Pete Huggins

Damien Hirst, Myth and Legend, by the entrance to the hall at HOUGHTON HALL, NORFOLK ©Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2018 Photo by Pete Huggins FAD MAGAZINE
Damien Hirst, Myth and Legend, by the entrance to the hall at HOUGHTON HALL, NORFOLK ©Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2018 Photo by Pete Huggins

About Mark Westall

Mark Westall is the Founder and Editor of FAD magazine, ' A curation of the world’s most interesting culture' [PLUS] Art of Conversation: A tri-annual 'no news paper' AofC - Issue 1 Autumn 2018