Cocarboxylase is a woodcut print from Damien Hirst’s 12 Woodcut Spots series from 2010. Showing four rows of four spots, identical in size and shape, this square composition is an example of Hirst’s fascination with exploring colour and form. Each spot is a different colour and every print in the series represents a unique set of colour combinations.
The 12 Woodcut Spots series is reminiscent of Hirst’s vast series of spot paintings, of which there are over 1000 in existence, dating from 1986 to 2011. The spots represent abstraction reduced to its most basic mechanisms: colour, form and composition. The grid formula for these paintings is the basis for an unbounded series where Hirst can infinitely explore harmonious and contrasting colour combinations.
The repetition of spots in Cocarboxylase, as with many others in the series, creates a visual buzz that is energetic yet highly regimented. The use of perfect circles is eye-catching and aesthetically pleasing, appealing to a wide audience of both specialist and non-specialists. Hirst in 2000 remarked on the impact of an installation of multiple spot paintings, “it’s an assault on your senses. They grab hold of you and give you a good shaking. As adults, we’re not used to it. It’s an amazing fact that all objects leap beyond their own dimension.”