All He Knows, 2000

Gary Hume

Set of 5
Varnish on aluminium
253.8 x 162.5 cm

© 2014, Gary Hume

Image copyright Stefan Altenburger

Hume’s door paintings have become something of a trademark, and he has produced many versions over the last 25 years. A simple idea, yet so effective and beautiful. For us he created five enamel painted aluminium panels that stretch over an eight metre length of the restaurant at our Zurich headquarters. The panels are larger than life-size painted renditions of hospital doors done in shiny layers of paint. But why doors? Hume has said that hospital doors are "doors of perception, doors of your birth; the very first and possibly the last things you see before you die. They have a blankness that demands you invest them with some meaning."

Artists have often used doors and windows as precise metaphors. Think of Matisse’s painting of a window that led into a black void. Hume’s doors are a little more playful – hovering between figuration and abstraction, but they will always make you think. As one critic put it: "there is dumb poetry in the image of the shut door".