A magnum opus for Hirst's Dot Paintings, 4-Chlororesorcinol is an extremely rare example where the artist uses multiple panels to compose a single work. Consisting of four panels that get progressively smaller from left to right, this work maintains the same visual composition as the dots get smaller and more densely packed together. The title refers to a common chemical used in a range of products from hair dye to lice treatment. Defying its ordinary chemical subject, the painting is as dazzling and visually captivating as color on canvas can be.
Hirst speaks of his Dot Paintings most elegantly:
"[They were made with a] scientific approach to painting in a similar way to the drug companies' scientific approach to life. Art doesn't purport to have all the answers; the drug companies do. Hence the title of the series, The Pharmaceutical Paintings, and the individual titles of the painting themselves: Acetaldehyde (1991), Albumin Human Glycated (1992), Androstanolone (1993), Arabinitol (1994), etc.
Art is like medicine - it can heal. Yet I've always been amazed at how many people believe in medicine but don't believe in art, without questioning either.
In the spot paintings the grid-like structure creates the beginning of a system. On each painting no two colors are the same. This ends the system; it's a simple system. No matter how I feel as an artist or a painter, the painting ends up looking happy. I can still make all the emotional decisions about color that I need to as an artist, but in the end they are lost. The end of painting. And I'm still painting; am I a painter?
I once said that the spot paintings could be what art looks like viewed through an imaginary microscope. I love the fact that in paintings the angst is removed. I have also said that I once took pills when I was a child thinking they were sweets, and several reviewers picked up on this as a reason for the pharmaceutical paintings. If you look closely at any one of these paintings a strange thing happens: because of the lack of repeated colors project so much joy it's hard to feel it, but it's there."
(Excepted from Hirst, Damien, I Want to Spend the Rest of My Life Everywhere, with Everyone, One to One, Always, Forever, Now, The Monacelli Press, 1997, p. 246).