The Dead (chocolate, oriental gold) is a signed foil block print in colours on Arches paper produced by renowned contemporary artist, Damien Hirst. In the print, Hirst depicts a large skull in the centre of the composition. The skull is rendered in earthy chocolate brown with oriental gold tones which stands out against the plain white backdrop.
The print, made in 2009, is part of the artist’s The Dead series. In this series, Hirst produced thirty-one prints, all of which depict a floating skull. Hirst often incorporates skulls into his artworks, with other series such as I Once Was What You Are, You Will Be What I Am (2007) and Memento (2008) using skulls as their source of inspiration. What makes this series stand out from the others, however, is Hirst’s bold use of colour. The lively colours used throughout the series seem to clash with the theme of death as they animate the skulls, injecting them with life.
The Dead (chocolate, oriental gold) is an example of how art can be used to explore questions of life and death. For Hirst, this is something unavoidable, the artist explains, “art’s about life and it can’t really be about anything else … there isn’t anything else.”