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Controlled Substances Key Painting (Spot 4a)
© Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2015. Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd

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Controlled Substances Key Painting (Spot 4a) 1994

Not on display

  • Artist Rooms
This canvas is constructed using a grid of dots of different colours, accompanied by letters in alphabetical order that seem to dissect and reorganise the very matter of painting into cells. Hirst has said that he only painted five of his spot paintings himself, since he found them so boring to paint and could not do them as well as his assistants. But the key thing about these works is their conceptual clarity – the potentiality of making an infinite number and variety of paintings, based on size and colour of the dots and size and shape of the canvases. Like Andy Warhol, whom Hirst greatly admires, Hirst has set up a sort of factory with assistants to help him make his works of arts. Like Warhol, Hirst retains central control of what and how it is produced.


  • Acc. No. AR00498
  • Medium Acrylic paint on canvas
  • Size 122.00 x 122.40 x 4.00 cm (framed: 130.70 x 130.30 x 8.10 cm)
  • Credit ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Acquired jointly through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008