Since the mid-1990s Hirst has been working in an abstract mode, pouring paint on rotating canvases attached to a spin machine he had installed in his studio. Circles in the Sand 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, he 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.
“In a Spin: The Action of the World on Things, Volume I" represent the series where Hirst took the etching medium 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 the artist in London 2002, 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.
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.
“I need to communicate the here and now. I realised that you couldn't use the tools of yesterday to communicate today's world.„