Contemporary Print Market Report


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Critical Review

A butterfly rainbow and a butterfly heart, the H7 series by Damien Hirst was created in response to the work of the NHS during the covid-19 pandemic. The prints in the series come in two variations,a butterfly rainbow and a butterfly heart.

The H7 series was produced in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic in order to pay homage to the NHS and the tremendous hard work and sacrifices NHS staff made during the pandemic. Both prints use the rainbow design which has become associated with the NHS and their Covid-19 response. The rainbow was used throughout the pandemic by the public to show their solidarity with people working on the frontline and Hirst adds that, “the rainbow is a sign of hope.” In using this design, Hirst makes a statement showing his support for and admiration of frontline workers and the NHS. The prints in the H7 series were made to raise money for charity during the pandemic. Profits of the prints went to charities such as The Felix Project, London’s largest surplus food distributor which delivers food to vulnerable people across the UK. When discussing his inspiration for the series, Hirst explains: “I wanted to do something to pay tribute to the wonderful work NHS staff are doing in hospitals around the country.”

When looked at closely, it becomes apparent that the rainbow stripes in all the prints are composed of butterflies. Hirst achieved this by producing digital bands of photographed butterfly wings. This technique produces intrigue, pushing the viewer of the prints to look closely at the coloured bands to find the butterflies within them. The incorporation of butterflies into the prints, which are Hirst’s most well-known motif, immediately links the prints to Hirst and his impressive oeuvre. Insects play an important role in the artist’s visual language, as seen in the Mandala paintings and the Kaleidoscope series.