Damien Hirst to burn “the currency” as buyers cannot own both NFT and physical artwork

Damien Hirst burns 10,000 copies of The Currency

collector of Damian Hirst are not entitled to own both digital ones NFT and physical copy of his artworks ‘The currency’, priced at $2,000 each. You can only choose one type among the 10,000 unique paintings. If they have opted for the NFT copy, the UK artist will be burning the physical copy daily from September 2022 and vice versa. Each of the 10,000 NFTs corresponds to the original work on paper that the artist created manually. Hirst and gallery HENI will host an exhibition this year to burn the 10,000 NFT and physical artworks from The Currency. Buyers can choose to keep them digital art or the physical copy of it public artworks until 3pm BST today only. The gallery is a reminder to anyone wishing to participate that the entire process is a one-way exchange ‘choose wise.’

The Currency is Damien Hirst’s first NFT collection, presented by HENI. The British artist famous for his formaldehyde sculptures and installations, has mentioned his openness to adopting new technologies, and NFT piqued his interest about four years ago. He decided to introduce The Currency as his entry into digital art, which challenges the concept of value through money and art. Always a provocative artist, Hirst toys with the idea of ​​daring his audience to consider value perceptions and how that influences their overall decision-making. With the time limit imposed, he tests the boundaries between physical and digital art and how a collector uses his art and currency in modern times.


Images courtesy of HENI

NFT vs physical artwork by The Currency

As HENI says, The Currency is a collection of 10,000 NFTs, equivalent to 10,000 unique physical works of art, held in a secure vault in the UK. “The collection resides on the Palm blockchain, a new token-powered ecosystem for NFTs connected to Ethereum. It is 99% more energy efficient than proof-of-work systems like Ethereum or Bitcoin. It also has low gas costs and fast transaction finality,’ says the gallery. Each of the unique 10,000 hand-painted works will be launched as NFTs on the blockchain and are uniquely titled and numbered from 1 to 10,000. A machine learning system generates the number and applies it to a specific piece of art, whose title features some of the artist’s favorite song lyrics. This allows the collector to decide how to use their art and currency. “Keep it, trade it, transform it, use it, enjoy it.” as the gallery puts it.

HENI guarantees the rarities of Hirst’s paintings. The machine learning algorithm used identifies the characteristics of each work, analyzes and ranks them out of 10,000, from the number of drips and splashes to the texture of the paint. Collectors can compare and filter rarities across The Currency’s repertoire. “For example, 1.22% of the works in the series have obscenities in the title, which translates to only 122 works.” explains the gallery. Another example that HENI shares is the overlaps and the density of the dots, which at first glance may seem similar. Some dots are superimposed while other paintings have spacer particles. Overlaps are scored from 0 to 1, with 1 being the highest, and a higher score means there is more overlap.

Damien Hirst the currency
Damien Hirst’s currency

Damien Hirst’s most exciting project to date

Hirst began work on the physical artwork in 2016, whose dot paintings have been cited as a recognizable theme in contemporary art. He has long been fascinated by the concepts of ownership and collecting, and entering the world of NFT continues his curiosity about the use of technology and materiality in art. His artistic work explores the boundaries between art and currency: when art changes and becomes currency, and when currency becomes art. “The Currency is a work of art and everyone who buys it will be a part of that work, it’s not just about owning it. It’s by far the most exciting project I’ve ever worked on.” says the artist. Check the live update here.

Damien Hirst the currency
Signature of Damien Hirst

Damien Hirst the currency
a hologram of the artist

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