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Tuesday, 21 April, 1998, 22:46 GMT 23:46 UK
'Surely Pink Swirly Painting'
spin painting
The 'spin' painting Damien Hirst created for The Big Issue
The work of controversial Brit pop artists such as Damien Hirst and Rachel Whiteread is on display in London in a unique exhibition.

The avant-garde art can be seen for free, unlike last year's notorious Sensation exhibition at the Royal Academy which cost around 7 to view. And if you have enough cash you can also stick around until Wednesday afternoon and bid for your favourite piece.

Urban chic in Clerkenwell
But be prepared to spend up to 100,000 for something trendy to fill a chic urban loft space.

The sale takes place in a vast dilapidated warehouse in Clerkenwell - "the epitome of the barren environment chosen by the living artists in which to expose their own works" according the Christie's, the auction house, putting on the sale.

Graham Southern, of Christie's Contemporary department said: "This sale is unprecedented for the contemporary art market. Twenty per cent of the artists included in it will have never been represented at international auction before."

A medicine cabinet worth 60,000 by Damien Hirst
Renowned for his penchant for pickling whole cows and sheep and putting them on display in glass cases, Damien Hirst is one of the new generation of artists who have helped to put the prefix "cool" in front of Britannia.

One of his works up for sale is the "spin" painting he created for The Big Issue, the magazine established to provide income for homeless people.

Bizarrely named Beautiful Big Issue What's got a Bottom on the Top Chris Callaghan Surely Pink Swirly Painting (With Smoked Fag), the painting was won by Chris Callaghan a support worker in Liverpool.

Up till now it has had pride of place in his mum's flat. It is expected to fetch around 28,000.

Felix Gonzales Torres' Untitled (Rossmore)
Felix Gonzales Torres' Untitled (Rossmore)
Mr Hirst said that his spin paintings were inspired by painting techniques he first saw as a boy on the children's BBC TV programme Blue Peter.

Also by Hirst is a piece entitled God, which looks like a medicine cabinet. The exhibitors said it is "alluding to the temporality of human existence".

It contains a series of medicines used for all sorts of bodily ailments and is estimated to fetch around 60,000.

Visitors are invited to eat a sweet from the display
Another work described by Christie's as a "highlight" of the sale is a piece by the Cuban artist Felix Gonzales Torres, comprising of 50lbs of wrapped sweets which visitors are invited to eat. The work is one in a series of "candy spills" made by the artist.

It is expected to fetch up to 65,000, providing it has not all been eaten by Wednesday, of course.

A hard sort of mattress from Rachel Whiteread
Another famous member of the "new avant-garde" is Rachel Whiteread who is well known for her casts of every day spaces or objects.

On sale is a piece called (Untitled) Mattress, which is a plaster cast of a mattress.

The artist takes her inspiration from objects found in rubbish skips or discarded waste ground. It is expected to sell for up to 60,000.

See also:

06 Aug 99 | Entertainment
Sensational hit for Royal Academy
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