Ethidium Bromide Aqueous Solution

Damien Hirst
Ethidium Bromide Aqueous Solution

An original hand-signed Damien Hirst aquatint print.


Original aquatint printed in 180 colors on 350 gsm Hahnemühle wove etching paper

Hand-signed in pencil in the margin lower right Damien Hirst.

A superb impression of the definitive state, from the edition of 65, numbered in pencil verso (there were 20 additional artist’s proofs, for an overall edition of 85). Published by The Paragon Press, London; printed by Peter Kosowicz at Thumbprint Editions Ltd., London.

29 x 23 inches

Sheet Size: 46 5/8 x 39 1/8 inches

The title for this print derives from chemical compounds, which are not toxic, but rather indicators and markers for the tracking of substances. “Ethidium bromide aqueous solution” is suitable for use in DNA isolation procedures and in electrophoresis. When exposed to ultraviolet light, it will fluoresce with a red-orange color, intensifying almost twenty-fold after binding DNA. First exhibited in 1988, the “Spot” works, also known as the “Pharmaceutical Paintings” have become one of the art world’s most recognizable, classic images and they define the way much of our culture views contemporary and conceptual art. Initially conceived as a scientific approach to painting much like the drug companies’ scientific approach to life. As the series evolved, Hirst began to discover an intriguing link between painting, and psychological mood.
If you look closely at one of these [works] a strange thing happens, because of the lack of repeated colors there is no harmony. We are used to picking out chords of the same color and balancing them with different chords of other colors to create meaning. This can’t happen. So, in every work there is a subliminal sense of unease; yet the colors project so much joy it’s hard to feel it, but it’s there.
Thus, if color can control mood, then surely it can be as effective as medicine to cure the ills of life and prolong the cycle between life and death. As he has famously stated:

Art is like medicine – it can heal. Yet I’ve always been amazed at how many believe in medicine but don’t believe in art, without questioning either.”