Taken from Damien Hirst’s I Love You series from 2015, I Love You (gold leaf, oriental gold, cool gold) is a foil block print that shows an image of a single butterfly in the centre of a heart. The print is covered almost entirely in varying tones of gold, producing a highly ornamental and intricate piece that is highly appealing.
In contrast to the other prints in the series, I Love You (gold leaf, oriental gold, cool gold) does not juxtapose bright colours against one another, and as a result the image of the butterfly blends into the heart. Themes of love, life, death and aesthetics underline Hirst’s artistic practice and in this series, he uses the symbol of the butterfly and the heart to convey this.
The butterfly motif is a prominent figure throughout much of Hirst’s oeuvre. Speaking of his obsession with butterflies Hirst has explained, “I think rather than be personal you have to find universal triggers: everyone’s frightened of glass, everyone’s frightened of sharks, everyone loves butterflies.” In I Love You (gold leaf, oriental gold, cool gold), the preciousness of the varying tones of gold relates to the delicate butterfly wings as well as the preciousness of love.