Damien Hirst: The Complete Visual Candy Paintings
Text by Mario Codognato. Conversation between Mario Codognato, Hans Ulrich Obrist.
The Visual Candy paintings were made between 1992 and 1994.The works showcase the ways in which Damien Hirst used the signifier of candy during the early 1990's, exploring questions of pure aesthetics. Hirst says they were created as a direct riposte to an art critic who had dismissed Hirst's Spot Paintings as "just visual candy.' Addressing the viewer on a deliberately emotionaland instinctive level, these works, abetted by their exuberant titles, among them Some Fun (1993) and Dippy Dappy Dabby (1993), set out to question the implication that aesthetically pleasing art is inherently insignificant.While ostensibly abstract, the paintings in fact depict medicinal pills, and can be seen as a stylised depiction of the psychological effects of happy, mood-enhancing drugs. Hirst once described how, "in every painting there is a subliminal sense of unease… the colours project so much joy it's hard to feel it, but it's there. The horror underlying everything," In this context, the Visual Candy paintings, despite their surface optimism, posses a disquieting undercurrent of tension and darkness - born from an awareness of the inevitable low that follows any high. Hirst once said that "art is about life - there isn't anything else.'