Entomology Works Damien Hirst
Find out more about Damien Hirst’s Etymology Works series, browse prints & editions for sale & view the works wanted by active buyers right now.
Published as a set of two prints in editions of 50, the Etymology Works series by Damien Hirst was produced in 2016 and captures the artist’s signature style of producing intricate kaleidoscope patterns and incorporating insects into his artworks.
The lenticular prints in the Etymology Works series are digital prints on PETG plastic which depict delicate arrangements of insects in a square or circular shape with a thick black border. The prints in the series are each named after phases and characters in Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy, a long Italian narrative poem from the 12th century.
The prints in the Etymology Works series were made using the advanced lenticular printing technique. The technique creates an illusion of depth, and, as a result, makes the insects stand out from the print, appearing to be multi-dimensional. The prints demand the viewer to look closely at the mesmerising patterns to detect the various different creatures that make up the large shape. The prints in the series are extremely colourful and captivating as the insects Hirst uses are all different shapes, sizes and colours. While insects conventionally carry negative associations, by using them to produce spectacular art, Hirst makes the viewer question these misconceptions and appreciate the natural beauty of the insects. Hirst in fact, thought insects were extremely beautiful, arguing that they retained an iridescent beauty, even in death.
Insects have become a recurrent motif in Hirst’s visual language and frequently feature in his artworks, such as the Kaleidoscope Paintings which are composed of hundreds of butterflies. Hirst’s interest in insects stems from the way they retain the appearance of life, even when they are dead. Hirst’s artworks often explore the relationship between life and death and, for him, insects embody the fragility of life.
Hirst himself has described the prints as both “beautiful and horrific at the same time,” due to the way in which the dead insects represent the cycle of life and death. Nevertheless, the prints in the Etymology Works series are dynamic and captivating and emblematic of Hirst’s bold and daring artistic style.
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