'I said before that I wish I'd never said anything about The Pharmaceutical Paintings, and I still wish I hadn't. They are what they are, perfectly dumb paintings, which feel absolutely right. Today there are better ways for artists to communicate to an audience raised on television, advertising and information on a global level.
I started them as an endless series like a sculptural idea of a painter (myself). A scientific approach to painting in a similar way to the drug companies' scientific approach to life. Art doesn't purport to have all the answers; the drug companies do. Hence the title of the series , The Pharmaceutical Paintings, and the individual titles of the paintings themselves...Art is like medicine - it can heal. Yet, I've always been amazed at how many people believe in medicine but don't believe in art, without questioning either."
In the spot paintings the grid-like structure creates the beginning of a system. On each painting no two colours are the same. This ends the system; it's a simple system. No matter how I feel as an artist or a painter, the paintings end up looking happy. I can still make all the emotional decisions about colour that I need to as an artist, but in the end they are lost. The end of painting. And I'm still painting...I believe painting and all art should utlimately be uplifting for a viewer. I love colour. I feel it inside me. It gives me a buzz. I hate taste - it's acquired.
I like the way the paintings look like they could have been made by a big machine - the machine being the artist in the future...The spot paintings could be what art looks like viewed through an imaginary microscope. I love the fact that in the paintings the angst is removed.
If you look closely at one of these paintings a strange thing happens, because of the lack of repeated colours there is no harmony. We are used to picking out chords of the same colour and balancing them with different chords of other colours to create meaning. This can't happen. So in every painting there is a subliminal sense of unease; yet the colours project so much joy it's hard to feel it, but it's there. The horror underlying everything. The horror that can overwhelm everything at any moment.
If you titled all the paintings Isolated Elements for the Purpose of Understanding , then it would be easier to relate them to the rest of my works.'
(Damien Hirst : I want to spent the rest of my life everywhere, with everyone, one to one, always forever now, London 1997, p. 246)