Spot Room, 1989



Spot Room
Dimensions variable
Household gloss on wall
Image: Courtesy of Andrew Nairne and CCA Archive Glasgow © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd., All rights reserved, DACS, 2012


Solo Exhibition - 1989
Third Eye Centre, Glasgow, United Kingdom


In 1989, Andrew Nairne, curator of the Third Eye Centre in Glasgow (which now houses the Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow) invited Hirst to exhibit his second solo show whilst in his final year at Goldsmiths. After visiting ‘Freeze’ and seeing Hirst’s wall spot paintingsRow’ (1988) and ‘Edge’ (1988), Nairne commissioned both Hirst and his fellow ‘Freeze’ participant Simon Patterson to produce works specifically for the gallery. The project was intended to demonstrate the strength of the emerging generation of British artists.

By the time he reached his final year at Goldsmiths, Hirst was refining the underlying conceptual foundation, and fabrication process, of the spot paintings. Describing how he “suddenly got what [he] wanted. It was just a way of pinning down the joy of colour”, he began to establish the basis for the creation of a series of works made “by a person trying to paint like a machine”.[1] With the ‘Spot Room’, Hirst applied the formulaic grid structure of the paintings directly to the white walls of the gallery foyer. The order of the spots remained systematic despite the interruption of external obstructions, reinforcing the idea of the spot paintings as a conceptually endless series.

Hirst’s installation was shown alongside ‘At Face Value’, an exhibition in the main gallery space which included established international artists such as Sophie Calle and Marie Bourget.

[1] Damien Hirst cited in Damien Hirst and Gordon Burn, ‘On the Way to Work’ (Faber and Faber, 2001), 124