Ethidium Bromide Aqueous Solution is a signed etching by Damien Hirst from 2005. The print shows many spots arranged methodically in rows, identical in size and shape. Each spot in the print is a different colour and every print in the series represents a unique set of colour combinations, marking Hirst’s fascination with exploring colour and form.
The spot prints and paintings are amongst Hirst’s most broadly recognised works. Stretching as far back as 1986, the spot paintings thematically recur throughout Hirst’s career in a number of artistic mediums and were first displayed at the landmark group show Freeze in London’s Docklands. As with other spot works on paper, Ethidium Bromide Aqueous Solution delivers stark, cynical satire using a visual language that is, on the surface, joyous and carefree.
Discussing the spot aesthetic, Hirst has proclaimed “I believe all painting and art should be uplifting for the viewer. I love colour. I feel it inside me. It gives me a buzz.” At his best, Hirst packs multiple layers into the seemingly simple and Ethidium Bromide Aqueous Solution is no exception. The print recalls the absurdity of Dada and gently mocks the processes of pointillism. Hirst employed a large number of technicians and assistants to create many of the spot works to match the scale of his ambition.