Damien Hirst talks about his latest spot painting and sculptures, and why being offered a knighthood makes him feel queasy, in an interview in today’s Observer Food Monthly (17 April). In a revealing two-hander lunch with the chef Mark Hix, who runs Hirst’s Pharmacy2 restaurant in Vauxhall, south London, the former YBA is on fine form, saying that yoga is making him feel like a new man. “I do yoga. Iyengar. Three times a week…. I used to slouch a lot, now I slouch a bit less. But it’s trapped a nerve. I’ve got to get a fucking scan,” he says. The conversation turns to the merits of MRI scanners. “I love an MRI! I’m making a scanner in marble. It’s called Portal. Full size. It’s from a series called Modern Miracles.”
Hirst, no doubt energised by his lunch of deep fried haddock with mushy peas, can’t stop talking about his future plans, including a project to retrieve works he buried at sea off the coast of Mexico 20 years ago. Crucially, the quasi-liquid lunch (Hirst stopped drinking ten years ago) moves on to the artist’s latest spot painting—a million dots a millimetre in diameter in different colours. This sea of spots took three months to count, he says.
The conversation winds down with a discussion about why Damien just doesn’t feel like part of the Establishment. “I got offered a CBE and turned it down. My mum went mad with me. Then I got the phone call that said: if it was the knighthood, would you accept it?… I couldn’t. Come the revolution, you’ll be hanging from a lamppost. Anyway… my kids already call me sir.”
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