Taken from Damien Hirst’s vast 40 Woodcut Spots series, Norcamphor is a woodcut print from 2011. The print is a square composition with four circles positioned in each corner. Set against a plain white backdrop, the spots are depicted in flat bright colours of blue, yellow, red and green. Using contrasting colours and a methodical composition, this print is an exploration of colour and form that is distinctly Hirstian.
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.”