Manganese Chloride is a woodcut print from Damien Hirst’s 40 Woodcut Spots series from 2011. The print shows various coloured spots arranged methodically into four rows of three. Each spot is a different colour and every print in the series represents a unique set of colour combinations.
The 40 Woodcut Spots series is reminiscent of Hirst’s vast series of spot paintings, of which there are over 1000 in existence, dating from 1988 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 a seemingly infinite series where Hirst can infinitely explore harmonious and contrasting colour combinations.
The titles of each print in the series are based on names of chemical compounds, further emphasising their abstract in their lack of signification of something tangible in the world. The chemical name instead evokes a nondescript powder or pill and there is an incessant endlessness to the 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.”