The History of Pain, 1999



The History of Pain
960 x 2510 x 2510 mm | 37.8 x 98.8 x 98.8 in
Painted MDF, steel, steel knife blades, air blower and beach ball
Image: Photographed by Mike Parsons © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2012


Solo Exhibition - 2013
ALRIWAQ, Qatar Museums Authority, Doha, Qatar
Solo Exhibition - 2013
ALRIWAQ, Qatar Museums Authority, Doha, Qatar
Group Exhibition - 2012
Pinchuk Art Centre, Kiev, Ukraine
Solo Exhibition - 2010
Oceanographic Museum of Monaco, Monte Carlo, Monaco
Solo Exhibition - 2009
PinchukArtCentre, Kiev, Ukraine
Solo Exhibition - 2004
Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli, Naples, Italy
Solo Exhibition - 2000
Gagosian Gallery, West 24th Street, New York, United States


‘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).