Melanie, Stephanie, 1992



Melanie, Stephanie
Dimensions variable
Household gloss on wall, chairs and twins
Image: Photographed by Mark Niedermann © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2014


Group Exhibition - 2014
Art Basel, Basel, Switzerland
Group Exhibition - 2012
Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany
Group Exhibition - 2009
Tate Modern, London, United Kingdom
Solo Exhibition - 1992
Unfair/Jay Jopling, Cologne, Germany


This installation was first exhibited at Jay Jopling’s stall at the inaugural ‘Unfair’ in Cologne in 1992. This alternative fair, held in a disused factory, was established in response to young gallerists who had been excluded from Cologne Art Fair. Seated identical twins are positioned in front of a pair of Hirst’s spot paintings, which are applied directly onto the wall behind. The work’s title changes according to the names of the participating twins, thus when first exhibited in 1992 it was variously subtitled ‘Marianne, Hildegard’ and ‘Ingo, Torsten’.

Twins and pairs are a recurring theme in Hirst’s work. The idea of duplicating something in order to reinforce an idea is essential to the implied endlessness of the spot painting series. Of the idea of a parallel self he explains: “It implies that you’re not unique. I had that dream – which was terrifying – of meeting myself. I know I’m unique. But I think of it as bookends. I think everybody’s two. You’re cut in half. You cut yourself down the fucking middle. You are two. It undermines this idea of being unique. There’s a comfort I get from it that I love. Each part of a pair has its own life, independent of the other, but they live together.”[1]

In 2009, the piece was exhibited for a second time, employing over a hundred sets of twins at Tate Modern’s travelling group exhibition ‘Pop Life: Art in a Material World’ (travelled to: The National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (11 June – 19 September 2010)). It has since been included in the performance art group exhibition '12 Rooms' at the Ruhr Triennale 2012.

[1] Damien Hirst and Gordon Burn, ‘On the Way to Work’ (Faber and Faber, 2001),131