“It’s not even really about death, it’s just about darkness.”
In 2006, Hirst started work on a new series of paintings made without studio assistants. After four years working largely in a small studio in the garden of his home in Devon, he exhibited works such as ‘Turn Away from Me’ at White Cube, Mason’s Yard (2010).
Hirst, who has stated that “art is always the map of a person’s life”, considers these new paintings to be a natural progression within his practice. As he explains: “I think [the ‘Blue Paintings’] are all about trying to make sense of the world […] There’s no one looking at me. It’s become much more personal and it kind of works for me.” By way of contrast to his earlier series of spot and spin paintings, Hirst found that these new paintings allowed a far more personal approach: “All that expression – doubts, fears, everything – can come out in this arena.” ‘Turn Away from Me’ is one of a number Hirst worked on following the death of his close friend, the artist Angus Fairhurst, in 2008. He explains the development of the painting: “It was totally spooky. You’ve got a blank canvas and then something comes out of it and you go, ‘Who the fuck is that? I don’t like that guy.’ […] I got an image from a medical book of how the nose looks underneath the skin and I sort of got obsessed with it. When you cut a nose off so it’s flat, you can see inside the face. […] There’s a sort of horrible tragedy and a menace – a balance between sadness and aggression.”
 Damien Hirst cited in Interview with Gordon Burn, Claridges’s, 30.06.09, ‘Nothing Matters’, (White Cube/Other Criteria, 2009), 9
 Damien Hirst cited in Essay, Gordon Burn, ‘Requiem II’ (Other Criteria/PinchukArtCentre, 2009), 17
 Damien Hirst cited in Interview with Gordon Burn, Claridges’s, 30.06.09, ‘Nothing Matters’, (White Cube/Other Criteria, 2009), 12
 ibid., 19
 ibid. 15-16