Meprobamate is a screen print from 2011 by Damien Hirst that depicts a variation on Hirst’s very famous set of works called the Spot paintings. This print shows a number of brightly coloured spots in a grid-like formation, like many of the Spots paintings, but with the left hand corner of the grid removed. The Spots paintings are crucial to understanding Hirst’s quasi-scientific rationality that underpins much of his practice.
Working almost exclusively in series, Hirst’s scale of production is considerable enough to merit employing a large number of assistants across studios in Gloucester, Devon and London. The artist has said of this: “I like to do series… I think that I try to avoid doing something unique, or being unique. If you feel like that, you end up benefiting by using other people. I like the idea of a factory to produce work, which separates the work from the ideas, but I wouldn’t like a factory to produce ideas.”
Alongside the other Spots paintings in his oeuvre, the formulaic composition of Meprobamate explores the boundaries between aesthetics and science, based in Hirst’s fascination with colour combinations and harmony. The print embodies Hirst’s artistic oeuvre that interrogates the intersections between the scientific and the artistic that are wrongly assumed to be oppositional in contemporary culture.