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These editions feature bright, abstract details from Damien Hirst’s new series of paintings titled Cherry Blossoms. Here, Hirst reinterprets the traditional subject of landscape painting on a monumental scale, entirely covering the surface of the works with bright colours that stretch the boundaries between figuration and abstraction.
The vibrant works pay homage to the Pointillism and Impressionism art movements. With the Cherry Blossoms series Hirst bridges his explorations and examination of colour as well as its effect on the eye, where movement and dynamicity of colour have been composed freely and joyously by the British artist.
“I just thought: ‘Oh my God, I wonder if I could just do cherry blossoms. It seemed really tacky, like a massive celebration, and also the negative, the death side of things.” —Damien Hirst
For Hirst, this is not the first time he explores colours as the epicentre of his work, his interest in colour can be found in his Visual Candy series from the 1990s – where repeating loose ovals of thick impasto are the subject of the works. With the Cherry Blossoms series Hirst bridges his explorations and examination of colour as well as its effect on the eye, where movement and dynamicity of colour has been composed freely and joyously by the British artist.
These limited fine art editions are technically created by a bright Laminated Giclée print on aluminum composite panel, which comes in two sizes and was realized in collaboration with Fondazione Prada to support Save the Children Italia. Hirst has taken existing imagery from his Cherry Blossoms paintings series and transposed it into a print, depicting a close up of the densely layered impasto structure, as well as colourful dabs of paint from sections of the large-scale canvases, one can see Hirst's thick brushstrokes and trace the movement of his gestural action painting throughout the surface of the work and its layering.
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Marilyn (Louisiana), 1967-1986
Colour offset lithograph / Archival Pigment Print
55.8 x 55.8 cm (21.9 x 21.9 in)
In excellent condition
Link to explore the edition here
Ingres and I, 2009
Edition of 130
80 cm x 120 (31.5 x 47.2 in.)
Signed and numbered
In mint condition
Link to the edition here
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In the Butterfly series, the artist, as a meticulous collector, depicts colourful dead Butterflies displayed against a contrasting black background. The artwork was inspired by a pursuit typical in Victorian times – butterfly collecting – a popular educational hobby for gentlemen and clergy.
"Everyone’s frightened of glass, everyone’s frightened of sharks, everyone loves butterflies."—Damien Hirst
Again, adopting the mantle of a collector, the artist has created large collage gloss paintings featuring butterfly wings, which are part of the Psalm series. These, as with his other works, aim to capture the beauty and to grasp and fix the ephemeral. Yet, the works conceal the strict relationship between beauty and death.
In Paper Kite Butterfly on Oleander, Hirst features his signature motif – the butterfly – alive in its natural surroundings, hanging from a beautiful, strikingly coloured blossom. In this, he has created an uplifting and celestial image that inspires childlike wonder in the face of such a beauty of nature. At the same time, however, it provokes fundamental questions about the meaning of life, a life which is characterized by death, and the fragility of biological existence.
“I love butterflies because when they are dead they look alive."—Damien Hirst
There is no imminent promise of salvation, no escape offered in these works. Those black pills, as in Dark Black Heaven, are as threatening as they are strangely attractive, a dark fatal allure which we already know leads to one ultimate destiny.
Hirst’s work questions the equivocal role of medicine. It can either take life and save life or destroy and restore. These pills are not a memento mori like the skulls or the butterflies. They are a symbol of resignation and alienation from life, and a fatal attraction towards death.
"It’s like God should be, the way they sell you the pills, the forms, the utopia, the hope, the cure. We’ve come a long way since quack doctors."—Damien Hirst
The pharmaceutical cabinets, as in Hirst’s work Utopia, question people´s complete reliance on medications and their power to heal, which fulfill the natural desire for immortality. However, the question is: Can drugs cure this problem, or can art?
On the other hand, Gold tears, which is part of the Utopia series, depicts rows of shiny diamonds on shelves covered with golden foil in front of a golden-beige background. The image is an intense vision of a golden cabinet filled with diamonds, a vision often associated with glorious eternity. But as always in Hirst’s art, the ambiguity is obvious – this cabinet points to the fact that behind all the shiny glittery surfaces there might be nothing, no meaning, and no soul. And hence the desire for eternity is less a promise than a condemnation.
"I can’t understand why most people believe in medicine and don’t believe in art, without questioning either."—Damien Hirst