Since the mid-1990s Damien Hirst has been working in an abstract manner, pouring paint on rotating canvases attached to a spin machine he had installed in his studio. Billy Mill Roundabout belongs to the 2002 portfolio of twenty-three etchings titled “In a Spin, The Action of the World on Things, Volume I” - Hirst’s first attempt to transform his concept of spin drawings and paintings into the print medium. For this series of etchings, Hirst attached copperplates to the machine and drew on them as they spun with needles, screwdrivers, and other sharp tools, in a performance-like ritual that lasted for several days.
The print' concentric-circle format, and the portfolio's title, were inspired by a long-exposure photograph Hirst had taken of the night sky, showing the stars arranged in an abstract pattern.
“In a Spin, The Action of the World on Things, Volume I" series Hirst pushes the medium of etching to its limits. In order to create the spin sketches, the etching copper plates had to be fixed to the spin machine which then rotated at high speeds, forcing the sharp scratching tool to perform random movements. Each etching was made by Hirst, in 2002 in London, printed on 350gsm Hahnemuhle paper, proofed, and editioned at Hope (Sufferance) Press, London, and published by Charles Booth-Clibborn under his imprint, The Paragon Press.
“In a Spin, The Action of the World on Things, Volume I" portfolio belongs to the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
“I need to communicate the here and now. I realised that you couldn't use the tools of yesterday to communicate today's world.„