Mannitol is a signed woodcut spot produced by renowned contemporary artist, Damien Hirst. Made in 2016, the print shows a large grid of spots, each of which is a different colour. The random selection of coloured spots contrasts markedly with the scientific precision with which the shapes are arranged in a tight grid formation.
Mannitol is one of Hirst’s iconic Spot paintings. Spots have become a signature element of the artist’s visual language and the formation of spots en-masse have become closely associated with the artist’s name. Hirst first started experimenting with spots in 1986 when he painted some loose hand-painted Spots on board. This was followed by his first Spots work on canvas Untitled (with Black Dot) in 1988. Now, Hirst has a team of trained assistants to assist him in the production of the Spots paintings due to their high demand, which marks a turning point in the artist’s career.
In the Spots paintings, Hirst tries to eliminate any trace of human intervention, with the aim that the works appear to have been constructed mechanically, or “by a person trying to paint like a machine.” By imbuing his art with scientific precision, Hirst attempts to blur the boundaries between art and science, demanding that the two disciplines are not seen in opposition with one another.