Memento 8 is a print from Damien Hirst’s Memento series from 2008. The print shows an image of a human skull in the centre of the composition, emerging from a stark, black backdrop. The series comprises six prints of butterflies, six of skulls and one of a diamond skull.
Much like the butterflies in the Memento series, the skulls that Hirst depicts are each unique and represent human mortality in a clinical way, providing the viewer with a final image of death, the remainders of a human face. Fascinated by death as a subject for artistic investigation, Hirst does not represent decay or fear of death, but instead transforms this image of mortality in an aestheticized symbol. Set in dialogue with the butterflies in the first half of the Memento series, the skull stands in for the transitory nature of life and resurrection.
This series was created a year after Hirst’s iconic For The Love Of God (2007) diamond-studded skull sculpture. Much of Hirst’s printed editions are reminiscent of his most famous sculptural and installation works, making clear his obsession with certain motifs and themes surrounding life and death, beauty and decay, desire and fear, love and loss.