Lauric Acid Butyl Ester is a woodcut print from Damien Hirst’s 40 Woodcut Spots series from 2011. The landscape-oriented print shows four rows of five spots that are identical in size and shape, each depicting a different colour. The 40 Woodcut Spots series is an exploration of colour and form that is distinctly Hirstian.
The titles of each print in this series are based on names of chemical compounds, and indicate Hirst’s interest in investigating boundaries between science, aesthetics, medicine and art. The colourful spots are set in equal distance from one another in a formulaic composition. The white clinical backdrop of the print recalls a laboratory and its kit, alluding to the crispness of coats, benches and hospital walls. Moreover, in its depiction of many spots, this print appears like a packet of medical pills.
There is an incessant endlessness to the 40 Woodcut Spots series. The circles are printed in flat, block hues and no colour is repeated twice on the same canvas. 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.”