NFT: The provocative artist Damien Hirst will burn several thousand of his paintings | knowledge of the arts

Almost 5,000 works by Damien Hirst will go up in smoke. Transformed into NFTs, they are actually doomed to the stake by the artist himself. A bonfire will be held in London in September to permanently remove the material versions of the paintings.

As part of his first NFT project, The Currency, launched in 2021, British artist Damien Hirst sold 10,000 abstract paintings by imposing a dilemma on buyers: decide to keep them either physically or virtually. 4,851 buyers eventually chose the NFT version at the expense of its physical replica. The latter will therefore be set on fire on September 9 at the Newport Street Gallery in London as part of an exhibition. A sensational auto-da-fé for an artist who is not at his first provocation.


A difficult choice

In 2016 Damien Hirst produced a series of abstract paintings on paper resulting from an infinite variation of applied dots of colour. You are therefore part of his series of spot painting initiated in 1986. Each painting is numbered and has a unique title automatically generated from the lyrics of the artist’s favorite songs. Each of the works is authenticated by various elements, including the artist’s signature on the back or a hologram portrait of the latter.

Each painting made by Damien Hirst for The Currency bears the handwritten signature of the artist. Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd. © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2022

This collection entitled The currency, contains 10,000 tangible paintings, all linked to an NFT, a digital file that serves as a certificate of authenticity and includes digitized versions of the front and back of each work. Their sale was organized from 14th to 21st July 2021 on the Heni platform for £2,000 per NFT. Its peculiarity lay in the (Corneolian) choice imposed on the buyers: keep the physical work or prefer its dematerialized equivalent. Around 5,000 buyers had one year, i.e. until July 27, 2022, to make a decision. In a tweet published on his official account, Damien Hirst revealed the final distribution that day: ” The year is over boom! It was over quickly! And we all had to make a choice: NFT or physical? The final numbers are: 5,149 physical and 4,851 NFTs. »

monetization of art

The destruction of the 4,851 paintings will take place on September 9 as part of The Currency exhibition at Newport Street Gallery in London. The works will be burned by the artist at a certain time every day until October. The remaining pieces will be destroyed during Frieze Week, which marks the end of the exhibition.
In addition to the media dimension of the event, Damien Hirst’s project results from a reflection on the monetization of art and its logical consequence, the desacralization of the work. It represents the idea that a work is a commodity like any other. according to him The currencytalks primarily about art and people, but more generally questions notions of belief and value, especially value in art. He also plays with the idea that art can be seen as currency and store of value. “.

Damien Hirst's paintings will be sold as NFTs as part of The Currency project, 2021. Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd.  © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd.  All rights reserved, DACS 2022

Damien Hirst’s paintings will be sold as NFTs as part of The Currency project, 2021. Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd. © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2022

A sulphurous artist

Damien Hirst, a former Fine Arts student at Goldsmiths College, made a name for himself in the 1990s with his animal carcasses that were dissected (cows, sharks, pigs, etc.) and preserved in formalin, such as mother and child separately (mother and child separated 1993). Winner of the prestigious Turner Prize in 1995, his 2007 sculpture definitely catapulted him into the ranks of a bankable contemporary artist For the love of Goda replica human skull set with more than 8,000 diamonds, and a retrospective devoted to him at Tate Modern in London in 2012. In 2021 he presented his new series Cherry Blossoms, Cherry blossomsat the Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art in Paris.


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