‘The History of Pain’, was first shown at Hirst’s major solo exhibition, ‘Theories, Models, Methods, Approaches, Assumptions, Results and Findings’ at Gagosian Gallery, New York, in 2000.
The piece acts as a contradiction to the childish buoyancy of another key work in the ‘Mental Escapology’ series, ‘Loving in a World of Desire’ (1996). The beach ball colour palette of the first work is replaced with pure white in ‘The History of Pain’. The slightest interruption to the supporting air supply will result in the ball’s immediate puncture by the surgically sharp knife blades piercing the base.
‘The History of Pain’ has been included in three large surveys of Hirst’s work, ‘The Agony and the Ecstasy’, Museo Archeologica Nazionale, Naples, 2004, ‘Requiem’, PinchukArtCentre, Kiev, 2009 and ‘Cornucopia’, Musée Océanographique, Monaco, 2010).