Damien Hirst logs on to India with affordable prints
New Delhi: British contemporary artist Damien Hirst, a cult name in new art, has jumped the price barrier to reach out to the masses with prints of his work at the India Art Fair here.
Hirst`s publishing company Other Criteria, a Britain-based state-of-the art print maker specialising in limited edition prints, has brought diamond-dust prints of four of his famous series - "For The Love of God", "Dead", featuring embellished human skulls, "Phendimetrazine: Controlled Substances", inspired by medicines, injections and health accessories, and "All that You Need Is Love Diamond Dust", a colour-scape of butterflies and circles.
The prints, priced between 1,700-38,000 British pounds (Rs.1.3 lakh to Rs.30 lakh) are silk screen and two-colour block printed editions of his art.
But they move beyond mere prints by the complex printing process that includes 27 layers of screen printing, as in the butterfly series, and a coat of diamond dust or crushed glass to give them an ornamental look.
The prints, once ready, are dipped into an emulsion of crushed glass for an encrusted diamond shimmer on the surface known as the "time and dust tested finish".
"The whole idea behind the company was to create beautiful and high quality prints of works by Hirst and other well-known artists at a more affordable price to make expensive and high-end art accessible to all. We have printed nearly 85 percent of his works," Charlotte Nunn, who is representing Other Criteria at the India Art Fair, told IANS.
The company, headquartered in Bond Street in London, has been selling prints of Hirst`s work since 2004.
It sells from two locations in London and one at the Gagosian Gallery in New York.
"India is our focus in the emerging economies. We are looking at young collectors. Damien is a supporter of young artists. This is our first visit to India as a company and the response has been overwhelming. We have sold many prints," Nunn said.
She said collectors in India were knowledgeable.
"There is a feeling in the air that India has good quality collectors," Nunn said.
Damien Hirst, unlike many of his generation in Britain, is a popular name in India because of the wide publicity he attracted when his works were brought to India a few years ago by Sotheby`s.
The unusual nature of his installations and the grandeur of the material - ranging from embellished carcasses of animals preserved in formaldehyde, butterflies, skulls and medical accessories - which the 47-year-old artist uses as his medium help the average viewer, even in countries like India, relate to his art.
Hirst`s company has exhibited his prints in all the major art fairs in Asia, including in Hong Kong and Singapore.
"The market for print in the West is mature. In India, it is still emerging. We hope in another five years` time, India will have a booming market for prints," Nunn said.