Paper Kite Butterfly On Spanish Iris is a signed digital print in colours created by the British contemporary artist, Damien Hirst. Produced in 2011, the print shows a large black and white butterfly poised elegantly on the side of a Spanish Iris flower. The butterfly is captured in a close-up shot, meaning the viewer of the image is able to see the intricate patterns on the butterfly’s wing. The print portrays the symbiotic relationship between the flower and insect, conveying the beauty of nature and the natural world.
The butterfly is one of Hirst’s most popular motifs and the artist frequently uses them as the subjects of his artworks. Paper Kite Butterfly On Spanish Iris contrasts with Hirst’s other artworks that depict butterflies, such as the Mandala paintings and the Kaleidoscope series as the print shows a live butterfly, actively feeding on the flower. Unlike the butterfly in this print, Hirst’s works tend to show dead butterflies arranged in intricate geometric patterns or concentric circles.
Hirst’s interest in butterflies stems from the way the insect lends itself to exploring questions of life and death. For Hirst, butterflies embody the fragility of life as they retain an iridescent beauty, even in death. The butterfly has also been used by the Greeks to depict the Psyche and soul and in Christian imagery to signify the resurrection. This symbolic heritage is significant as Hirst has always been fascinated with themes of life, death and religion.