Arts and Culture

British artist to burn thousands of his paintings to show art as 'currency'

Kristofer Purnell - Philstar.com
British artist to burn thousands of his paintings to show art as 'currency'
British artist Damien Hirst
AFP / Stephane de Sakutin

MANILA, Philippines — British artist Damien Hirst will be burning thousands of his famous dot paintings found at his private museum in London as part of his next project titled "The Currency."

Hirst has created 10,000 unique oil paintings of colored dots since 2016 and has since linked them to a corresponding non-fungible token (NFT) worth $2,000 (P110,000).

Buyers who purchased an NFT have been asked if they want to keep the token or trade it for the physical piece. If the buyer chooses to keep the NFT, its corresponding painting will be exhibited before being burned.

All artworks that were not traded in will be exhibited at Hirst's Newport Street Gallery in London beginning September 9 and there will be daily burnings until October.

Nearly half of the artworks were swapped in from the purchased NFTs, which means more than 5,000 paintings will be tasting flames.

Hirst considers "The Currency" his most exciting project by far because of how it "touches on the idea of art as a currency and a store of wealth."

“This project explores the boundaries of art and currency — when art changes and becomes a currency, and when currency becomes art," Hirst told The Art Newspaper. "It’s not a coincidence that governments use art on coins and notes. They do this to help us believe in money. Without art, it’s hard for us to believe in anything.”

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