Tracing its roots back to 1992, the ‘Spin Paintings’ series was Hirst’s reaction to Abstract Expressionism and his desire to devise a machine to make art, based on his idea that one could mechanically create ‘a clinical system’ to produce ‘art without angst’. Rather than creating a composition directly through his brush, Hirst began pouring pigments onto his canvases as they spun, allowing the machine to facilitate chance movements and colour interactions.
Over the past 30 years, Hirst has continued to return to the spin format, sometimes even inviting other people such as David Bowie to his studio to create a ‘Spin Painting’ together. He has used various shapes, sizes, and techniques to build on this body of work, with The Beautiful Paintings being the latest iteration. Generative and machine learning algorithms replace Hirst’s mechanical tools but preserve the series’ long-standing aesthetic of chance and randomness.