The Dead (Panama copper, turquoise) is a signed foil block print in colours on Arches paper produced by renowned contemporary artist, Damien Hirst. In this print, Hirst renders a large skull in an earthy copper colour with hints of dark turquoise. Against the plain white backdrop, the skull appears to be floating without a body, as it stares out at the viewer of the print.
The print, produced in 2009, is part of the artist’s The Dead series. In this series, Hirst made thirty-one prints, all of which depict colourful skulls. The skull is a central element of the artist’s visual language and iconography. The series resonates with other series, such as I Once Was What You Are, You Will Be What I Am (2007) and Memento (2008), however it stands out from them due to Hirst’s bold incorporation of colour.
Hirst’s use of colour in The Dead (Panama copper, turquoise) reflects how death and human mortality is often thought of and discussed. The artist explains: “you don’t like it [death], so you disguise it or you decorate it to make it look like something bearable – to such an extent that it becomes something else.”