Damien Hirst - 'The Currency' Series

The ongoing debate between the value of Digital and Physical value explored.

We are fascinated by this series of physical artworks and NFT's created by the British art icon, Damien Hirst. The artworks comprise of his famous 'spot' design and the project poses a fundamental question regarding the digital art world and its value and integrity


The artist is known to be the richest British artist of our time and won the Turner Prize in 1995. His work plays on concepts such as death and pushes the boundaries the expectation and tradition of contemporary art. 


Damien Hirst released 'The Currency' series in 2021 with HENI Editions which was the artists first venture into the NFT market. The project allows the audience to ultimately make the decision about what is more valuable digital or physical, tangible artworks. 


After a period of three years the buyer must choose which one to be destroyed and which to be kept from the series. The destroying will take place in the form of a ceremonious burning. 


Pictured: Damian Hirst with the originals. Credit: artist Instagram. 


'The Currency' is made up of 10,000 spot works on paper with corresponding NFTs. Damien Hirst 'Spots' are what the contemporary, boundary pushing artist is most famed for. 


NFTs - or Non-Fungible Tokens are essentially unique digital tokens that can be exchanged but not replicated, and while they can in theory be anything, digital artwork has dominated the NFT conversation.


“The whole project is an experiment in belief. As an artist, it should be an equal problem to burn an NFT and to burn a piece of paper.

But I have a much harder problem burning the paper than I do the NFTs, and that exposes something in me. Which is kinda bad.”



His spot series is inspired by minimalism and abstract expressionists. He created his first spot painting in 1986 and has created thousands since. 


Hirst grew up during the era of abstract expressionism. He was inspired by the works of Rothko and Pollock. He was fascinated by thecoldness of contemporary minimalism that he witnessed at the time. 


Damien Hirst created his very first spot painting while he was still a student in 1986 at London’s Goldsmiths College. He felt that he failed at his first attempts, which made him dislike his early paintings. 


Today, there are about 1000 spot paintings in the world of different sizes, shapes, and colours.


Using the colours that leap from the canvas and others that fade, the spot paintings are deliberately poised to directly pop at the viewer, allowing Hirst to fully harness the effect that he intended to have on the audience.


Pictured: Damien Hirst first ever spot painting produced in 1986. Image credit Gargosian.


The project aims to form a survey in terms of what is truly more valuable to us and those in the market. What do you think? will NFTs stand the test of time? 


If you are interested in any of the Damien Hirst works we have in stock, please contact us via info@rhodescontemporaryart.com or you can call us on (0)20 7240 7909

March 11, 2022