The skull is one of the signature motifs in Damien Hirst’s production, which remains genre-defying and encompasses everything from sculpture, prints, works on paper and paintings to installation and objects. Throughout his work, the artist takes a direct and challenging approach to ideas about existence and calls into question our awareness and convictions about the boundaries that separate desire and fear, life and death, reason and faith, love and hate.
The present work belongs to The Dead, a series of 31 foil block prints published by Paul Stolper and Other Criteria, London, in 2009. The artist rebuffs the traditional image of the skull as a symbol of death and decay and transforms this subject into a glorious memento mori. Despite the ambiguity of the concept, this is Hirst's attempt to present the notion of aspiration to immortality in a playful manner.
“You don’t like it (death), so you disguise it or you decorate it to make it look like something bearable – to such an extent that it becomes something else.„