The spot paintings are one of Hirst’s most important series. Of their conception, he explains: “To create that structure, to do those colours, and do nothing. I suddenly got what I wanted. It was just a way of pinning down the joy of colour.” Spanning 25 years, the works in the worldwide Gagosian show varied in size from a 1 x ½ inch canvas depicting half a spot to the 60-inch four-spot painting ‘Erbium Oxide’ (1996).
Included were approximately 25 paintings created personally by Hirst before he began to employ gallery assistants. One of which was his earliest spot painting on board (1986), originally shown at his first solo show whilst in his second year at Goldsmiths, ‘Constructions and Sculptures’ (1988).
From their inception in 1986, Hirst’s intention was always to create a collective installation of spot paintings. As he explained of the concept in 2000: “It's something I've been excited about for years. Ever since I first started making them. it’s an assault on your senses. They grab hold of you and give you a good shaking. As adults, we’re not used to it. It’s an amazing fact that all objects leap beyond their own dimension.”
A forthcoming comprehensive catalogue of ‘The Complete Spot Paintings 1986-2011’ will be published by Other Criteria/Gagosian Gallery.