Damien Hirst's 2015 I Love You series collects 14 prints, each with its own colourway, of which six have gold-leaf hearts. The title conveys the message through clear iconography—a butterfly inside a heart— yet the prints remain ambiguous, as butterflies often symbolize life’s fragility in Hirst's oeuvre.
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Building on his fascination with butterflies, Hirst’s 2015 set of 12 prints, I love You are simplistic in their imagery. Eight of the hearts across the series are silk screened and six are in gold leaf.
Simplistic in its visual language and bright in colour, the I Love You series conveys an immediate message of love and joy to the viewer. Hirst is notoriously ambivalent with his subject matter and brings themes of love and death into dialogue with one another. This particular series plays on such themes through the butterfly motif that retains the appearance of life even in death. Rendering the fine detail of the butterfly wings and setting this against the bold colour and shape of the heart in every print, Hirst combines these elements to produce an image that strikes universally engaging triggers. This contrast between bold block colours and the realistic image plays with Hirst’s concern with the way that images are assumed to depict facts and truth.
Hirst nods to the work of Pop artist Andy Warhol, creating a series of 12 prints each with the same subject matter and composition, but with varying colour combinations that make each print unique. Many of Hirst’s prints and editions take a single idea or motif that is repeated in many variations across an entire series. This is representative of Hirst’s interest in exploring ideas to their absolute end and relating this to colour, form and composition.
Much of Hirst’s work foregrounds themes of love, aesthetics, life and death and the I Love You series exemplifies this. Speaking of his interest in the topic of love, Hirst has explained, “Love is a beautiful thing, and I see it as a small antidote to the horrors of the world.” Particularly, Hirst’s colour choice of various shades of red, pink, and gold, as well as the central heart motif, make clear his interest in love as a feeling and concept universally understood by many.