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Signed Print Edition of 50
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Celine Fraser, Acquisition Coordinator
Mantra is a 2011 print by Damien Hirst that explores the use of butterflies in the creation of a kaleidoscopic pattern. The print is arranged in symmetrical segments, emanating from the centre of the circle where a yellow-winged butterfly sits atop a pale blue background. The circular pattern sits on a white background which is signed in the bottom right corner.
Hirst has continually experimented with the use of butterflies in his artistic production. This 2011 print fits into this oeuvre. Hirst once asserted that butterflies were a “universal trigger” and that “everyone loves butterflies”. Therefore, he was keen to explore what was possible visually with the butterfly. However, Hirst chose to remove the butterfly wings from the body of the animal stating that their bodies were “disgusting”. By removing the wings the viewer is presented only with the suggestion of the animal.
In this print the yellow butterfly at the centre is contrasted with green, blue, brown, grey and beige butterflies. The pattern emanates outwards from the centre. One might compare this work to Hirst’s 2015 series The Aspects. These were a collection of five prints which each arranged blue-winged butterflies in different manners, creating a kaleidoscopic pattern. Similarly, Hirst’s Cathedral series uses a range of colours to portray the butterfly in a similar manner. Mantra can, however, be most closely compared to the Superstition series that Hirst created in 2006 for an exhibition at Gagosian, London. These circular works depict the wings of butterflies arranged in a similarly kaleidoscopic pattern.