Art Why did Damien Hirst burn more than a thousand of his works?
Artart

Why did Damien Hirst burn more than a thousand of his works?

-
Tommaso Berra
Damien Hirst | Collater.al

In July 2021, the British artist Damien Hirst launched his project ‘The Currency‘, which consisted of the sale of 10,000 of his works in NFT at a cost of approximately two thousand dollars each.
The purchase of these works provided for an agreement between the buyers and the artist, i.e. the possibility of choosing, after one year, whether to keep the physical version of the work – and lose the NFT version – or its digital version. In the second case, the contract stipulated that the physical work should be burnt by Hirst himself.
Hirst’s experiment wanted to investigate the market sentiment with respect to digital and physical art, a choice that revealed a great balance, since 5,149 chose the physical works, 4,851 the NFT works, which in the meantime many have already resold and which on OpenSea were already on sale in August 2021 at a minimum price of $30,000 each.

Visualizza questo post su Instagram

Un post condiviso da Damien Hirst (@damienhirst)

Among those who bought the works was the artist himself, who for a long time thought about what to do with the 1,000 works reserved for himself, but then decided to turn them all into NFT in order to give ‘total support and trust’ to the industry.
Thus, from the beginning of September, the last phase of ‘The Currency‘ project began and Hirst, together with the HENI platform, organised an exhibition, burning in the fireplace located in the centre of London’s Newport Street Gallery one work per day among those purchased and destined for a digital life.
During a live streaming and through a video posted on his Instagram account, Hirst showed how he sent his 1,000 works to ashes, explaining that “a lot of people think I’m burning millions of dollars of art but I’m not, I’m completing the transformation of these physical artworks into nfts“.

Visualizza questo post su Instagram

Un post condiviso da Damien Hirst (@damienhirst)

Damien Hirst’s performance, provocative in some respects, is reminiscent of the affair involving Frida Kahlo‘s work Fantasmones Siniestro, burnt by Mexican art dealer Martin Mobarak. Hirst, however, is the author of the burnt works and the performance is defined by a contract; in Mobarak’s case, on the other hand, the work represented a national asset, a detail that triggered an investigation by Mexico’s National Institute of Fine Arts and Literature.
So it is the modalities that return, seeing fire as a purifying element and as a portal capable of leading art from the physical to the digital world. Hirst then is no stranger to this type of provocation aimed at disrupting the art market, an approach that has made him one of the most important artists of our time.

Artart
Written by Tommaso Berra
x
Listen on