Controlled Substance Key Painting, 1994



Controlled Substance Key Painting
1219 x 1219 mm | 48 x 48 in | (4 inch spot)
Household gloss on canvas
Image: Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2012


Solo Exhibition - 2012
Gagosian Gallery, eleven locations worldwide, , United Kingdom


‘Controlled Substances’ refers to those drugs which fall under government regulation. Hirst began this series of spot paintings in 1993 and a large selection were included in Jablonka Galerie’s ‘Damien Hirst’ solo exhibition (1993).

Each ‘Controlled Substance’ painting (‘Opium’) – often painted on irregularly shaped canvases – corresponds to a ‘Controlled Substance Key Painting’. The key assigns every colour used a letter and number in order to create an alphabet of spots, through which the drug title is concealed within the work.