DAMIENHIRSTOn the Way to Work - Discussion with Gordon Burn (2002)
… the more I change it, the more I’m talking about myself. Whereas the less I change it, the more I’m talking about a kind of universal idea.
I don’t think you can change people’s minds without getting them to listen to you.
It means that you don’t want to die. It boils down to immortality. I want to live forever.
You’ve got to admit that you’re a boring cunt at some point.
The idea of a painter is so much greater than the idea of a sculptor or an artist.
Great art is when you come across an object and you have a fundamental, personal, one-on-one relationship with it, and you understand something you didn’t already understand about what it means to be alive. That’s why people with loads of money want to possess it … But they can’t. Throw money at art, you get nothing back. You die. Then where does it go?
Without that, I’ve got nothing.
I love the way art really doesn’t affect the world. … I want to affect the world obliquely.
January 21st, 2020 1:37pm fa19damien hirstquotesmessy bitch and i'm here for ityba
I don’t know how to finish a painting. All I can tell you is how it feels for the painting to be finished. I don’t want to make a gross or inappropriate analogy, but it’s a little bit like when you first remember being in high school or college or whatever and it’s going to be your first kiss. It’s scary. You don’t know what to do. But then it just happens. And in retrospect it seems like, “Oh yeah, of course. It was natural.” Something a little bit like that happens in the painting where you’re nervous and nothing’s happening and it’s like you’re thinking it through and talking, and talking, and talking. And then, if you’re lucky, something physically happens in the painting; physical logic takes over, rather than the idea. My role diminishes, and I’m more of a craftsman. I just work here. I’ve been sent to fix a few things. I’m just cleaning up now. I’m picking up my tools.
What’s your favorite artwork by someone else?
I have to sort of balance my urge to lie, and my urge to tell the truth. I need to lie to figure it out. I know it was “Hunters in the Snow” by Bruegel, or “The Peasant Dance” — the one where the people are running in from the right side of the painting. And then Botticelli, I guess. “The Primavera.” But you know, I feel like it’s a little dishonest of me to name an Italian artist.
Courbet is kind of the trashy one that I always come back to when I’m feeling like I’ve got to figure out something. WWCD: What Would Courbet Do? I saw “The Origin of the World” in Brooklyn when I was 19. I’d seen 900,000 photographic images of women spreading their legs but I’d never seen a painting. It was the weirdest feeling. It was much more real than a photograph. It was the strangest thing I’d ever seen. It completely knocked me over. And in a way that’s one of my favorite paintings. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t.
I fell in love with the granular surface of a photograph. Some people say, ‘Photographs are all surface. Paintings have this depth and texture.’ I get what they’re saying. But photography has this swarming molecular grain, which I find so beautiful. When photographs are large, you get the sense that you’re being vaporised into grain.
I’m not interested in narrative. My pictures are a web of narrative impulses that people have and need. But none of my pictures have scenarios. Scenarios suggest narrative lines. Films have scenarios, and I don’t make films.
My photographs are compositions. Francis Bacon once said, “I like to bring as many figures together as I can without there being any narrative.” I totally agree with him. It’s a great way of articulating the aim of pictorial art. I don’t want people to be able to say what’s happening straight away.