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Memento 13

Memento 13
Signed Print

Damien Hirst

Intaglio, 2008
Signed Print Edition of 30
H 120cm x W 108cm

Critical Review

Explaining why he chose to decorate a human skull with diamonds, Hirst has said: ‘I just thought, What can you pit against death?’ Indeed, the result is both beautiful and astounding in its excessiveness, transforming an image of death into a highly aestheticized object. Alongside this final image of the diamond skull, the Memento series comprises six prints of butterflies and six hyperrealist images of human skulls.

Fascinated with the concept of death, the Memento series acts as a reminder that human existence on earth is transient. The iconography of the skull is indicative of the classic subject of ‘memento mori’, with inspiration drawn from Aztec skulls and the Mexican tradition of decoration and outlook on death. Hirst explains: “You don’t like it, so you disguise it or you decorate it to make it look like something bearable – to such an extent that it becomes something else.”