L-Isoleucine Methyl Ester is a woodcut print from Damien Hirst’s 2018 Woodcut Spots series from 2018. The print shows 11 rows of spots that are identical in size and shape, each spot a different colour. Across the artist’s career every spot painting depicts a unique combination of colours. The 2018 Woodcut Spots series is an exploration of colour and form that is distinctly Hirstian.
The origins of these famous works are from 1988, when Hirst in the final stages of the Freeze exhibition painted two arrangements of coloured spots onto the wall of the warehouse, titling them Edge and Row respectively. The Freeze exhibition marked a turning point in Hirst’s career where he began to employ assistants to create the spot paintings. This was part of the artist’s aims towards creating works that appeared to have produced mechanically and without human intervention.
Hirst has said of these works, “To create that structure, to do those colours, and do nothing. I suddenly got what I wanted. It was just a way of pinning down the joy of colour.” This series is representative of the spot paintings that constitute some of Hirst’s most recognisable works. There are over 1000 spot paintings in existence, dating from 1986 to 2011.