No Sense of Absolute Corruption

4 May 1996 – 15 June 1996
Solo Exhibition. Gagosian Gallery, Wooster Street, New York, United States.

Courtesy of Gagosian Gallery © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2012

The eleven major works presented included unique sculptures and a number of works taken from Hirst’s three most recognisable series: the spot paintings; the spin paintings; and ‘Natural History’.

Many of the works in ‘No Sense of Absolute Corruption’ incorporated moving elements. They included a series of rotating spin paintings, such as ‘Beautiful, cheap, shitty, too easy, anyone can do one, big, motor-driven, roto-heaven, corrupt, trashy, bad art, shite, motivating, captivating, over the sofa, celebrating painting’ (1996). The rotating works were constructed partly because Hirst was fed up with being asked which way the spin paintings should be hung, and partly to combat his sentiment that “the moment they [the spin paintings] stop, they start to rot and stink.”[1] Hirst also unveiled a tri-vision rotating billboard, ‘The Problems With Relationships’ (1995), and a formaldehyde-preserved bisected pig he named ‘This Little Piggy Went to Market, This Little Piggy Stayed at Home’ (1996). The pig was contained within a split tank which slid mechanically to create a whole. Elements of movement were also presented in a major new work in the ‘Mental Escapology’ series, ‘Loving in a World of Desire’ (1995), in which a brightly coloured beach ball floats in mid-air supported by an air supply.

Of the correlation between the exhibited works and the show’s title, Hirst explained: “all the sculptures contain both [physical and moral] senses of corruption. The spin paintings have two negatives which equals a positive. So the idea of machines making paintings could be corrupt. Corruption is also physical. Advertising is rotting, even sculptures. And the idea of hoarding, selling artwork is corrupt, but I’ve still got ‘No Sense of Absolute Corruption’.”[2]

The catalogue accompanying ‘No Sense of Absolute Corruption’ included an interview with Hirst by art critic Stuart Morgan (Gagosian Gallery, 1996).

[1] Damien Hirst cited in Damien Hirst and Gordon Burn, ‘On the Way to Work’ (Faber and Faber, 2001), 221

[2] Damien Hirst cited in Stuart Morgan, ‘An Interview with Damien Hirst’, ‘No Sense of Absolute Corruption’ (Gagosian Gallery, 1996), 27-28