A portfolio of 5 prints in rich shades of ultramarine blue, Damien Hirst’s H5 The Aspects (2015) showcase his obsessive return to compositions created by arranging real butterfly wings into kaleidoscopic patterns. For Hirst, the butterfly is a ‘universal trigger’, epitomising natural beauty and embodying the fragility of life.
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A portfolio of 5 prints from 2015 in various shades of blue, Hirst’s H5 The Aspects show his use of real insects to create kaleidoscopic compositions. Depicted in varying shades of blue, each print in the series shows an array of butterfly wings arranged into intricate kaleidoscopic patterns. Each composition is perfectly symmetrical, two made up of concentric circles, two of vertical and horizontal lines, and one formed through a diagonal cross section.
Much like many of prints produced in this period of Hirst’s career, The Aspects series is indicative of the artist’s obsession and repetition of the butterfly motif. For Hirst, the butterfly is a ‘universal trigger’ that many people share in finding attractive and joyous. Recalling someone once saying to him: “Butterflies are beautiful, but it’s a shame they have disgusting hairy bodies in the middle,” Hirst in works like this chose only to display the dazzling wings of the insect. By removing the butterfly wing from the insect body as a whole and forming a pattern abstracted from the butterfly itself, Hirst explores the difference between the butterfly as insect and butterfly as a universal concept.
Hirst uses the wings of butterflies in varying shades of blue to create the geometric pattern of each print, appearing almost like insects on display in a natural history museum. The aesthetic comes into play with the scientific, two key themes repeated throughout Hirst’s oeuvre, in the creation of a beautiful pattern that is mesmerising to look at. The entire of The Aspects series is made up of varying shades of blue as Hirst uses the same species of butterfly wings to form the pattern of each print.