Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD) is an etching by Damien Hirst from 2000 that shows many spots arranged methodically into 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.
Stretching as far back as 1986, the Spots paintings were first displayed at the landmark group show Freeze in London’s Docklands and recur throughout Hirst’s career in a number of artistic mediums. Unlike many of the Spots paintings, this print has a limited monochrome colour palette as opposed to depicting various bright colours. More subdued, Diacetoxyscirpenol is therefore an exploration in abstraction and pattern rather than in colour.
The title of this print, along with many of the other Spots paintings and prints, 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.