Damien Hirst will start to burn thousands of his paintings next month at his London gallery. Editions of The Currency will start going up in flames on a daily basis from 9 September, with a final event in October during Frieze bringing this chapter of the project to a close.
Hirst created 10,000 unique spot paintings in 2016, each with its own title that were linked to corresponding NFTs and sold initially for $2,000 each. Buyers were given the option of keeping the NFTs or trading them in for the physical artwork.
“The collector … cannot keep both. This exchange is a one-way process, so choose carefully,”
After the deadline had passed, 5,149 people had chosen to swap their digital editions linked to the blockchain for the corresponding physical artwork, with 4,851 opting to keep their NFTs. Hirst himself will retain his personal allocation as NFTs, meaning he has chosen to burn 1,000 unique editions of his own artwork.
The project was an “interesting experiment”, the artist told Mark Carney, the former Bank of England governor, in a YouTube video interview last year. “It’s an installation, really, but like a global one… The involvement of everybody is part of The Currency project. It’s as much about the movement of the objects as it is about the objects.”