Transformation Complete: Damien Hirst’s Year-Long ‘The Currency’ Collection Culminates With the Burning Ceremony - Arts & Culture

The works that have been burned have an estimated worth of nearly £10 million.

In 2021, British artist Damien Hirst launched “The Currency,” a collection of 10,000 Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), each with 10,000 physical artworks in correspondence. Each buyer can keep either the NFT or the unique hand-painted paper version.

Whichever they choose, the other piece of art gets ceremonially burned. Every owner had one year to decide, and now Hirst has begun destroying his own works.

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Dressed in boiler-suit trousers and fire safety gloves, the 57-year-old began burning the works this week. “A lot of people think I’m burning millions of dollars of art, but I’m not. I’m completing the transformation of these physical artworks into NFTs by burning the physical versions,” Hirst wrote in an Instagram post. 

Hirst’s sales from the Currency Collection reached $25 million on April 2021.

“The value of art, digital or physical, which is hard to define at the best of times, will not be lost; it will be transferred to the NFT as soon as they are burnt. Per BBC, the works that have been burned have an estimated worth of nearly £10 million.

Each painting-NFT was sold for $2,000. By August 2021, the collection’s sales had reached $25 million.

Images from @damienhirst on Instagram.

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