Memento 3 is an intaglio print from Damien Hirst’s Memento series from 2008. The print shows an image of a large orange butterfly with its wings outspread, set against a black backdrop. Hirst produces a striking effect in the print by contrasting the luminous colouring of the butterfly very starkly against the flattened, dark background.
Reminiscent of the work of Pop artist Andy Warhol, Hirst creates a series of thirteen prints with repeated subject matter and similar compositions, but with varying colour combinations, butterfly species and skulls to make each print unique. Rendering the fine detail of the butterfly wings and setting this against the dark backdrop, Hirst produces a highly simplistic image that finds universally engaging triggers. This contrast between bold colour, the starkly dark backdrop and the realistic image plays with Hirst’s concern with facts and truth that images are assumed to depict.
The butterfly motif is a prominent figure that Hirst has used throughout his career to bring together themes around morality, life, love, faith and aesthetics. 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.”