The Wonder Of You Damien Hirst
Find out more about Damien Hirst’s The Wonder Of You series, browse prints & editions for sale & view the works wanted by active buyers right now.
Published by Damien Hirst in 2015, The Wonder Of You is a set of six prints that show hyperrealist butterflies in saturated colours scattered across each composition and set against a bright colour field. Hirst maintains a crisp visual language and bright colour choice throughout the series that compliments the photographic detail of the butterfly motif in each work.
Hirst’s use of the butterfly in this series differs significantly from his first reference to the insect in his In and Out of Love (Butterfly Paintings and Ashtrays) installation from 1991. This work included live butterflies and was an exploration of ‘the way the real butterfly can destroy the idea (birthday-card) kind of love; the symbol exists apart from the real thing.’ The series title The Wonder Of You, exemplifies this idealised beauty as separate from the insect itself that Hirst encapsulates in his work. Where The Wonder of You does strike parallels with Hirst’s earlier work is in the depiction of butterflies that in the original installation were fixed into monochrome gloss paint and surrounded by overflowing ashtrays. The choice of household gloss was intended to ‘look like an accident of paint with butterflies stuck on it,’ according to the artist. This effect is reflected in The Wonder Of You that contrasts the highly realistic images of butterflies against the solid colour backdrop.
The Wonder Of You series represents Hirst’s interest in combining hyperrealism with artificial colour and traditional methods of art making. Hirst has taken photographic themes as the basis of much of his work, notably beginning his Fact painting series in 2000. Of this obsession with the photographic Hirst has explained, “Art has been in constant battle for hundreds of years with every other kind of image-making… newspapers are supposed to be about facts and truth, and you believe you get a true view of the world from these images when you don’t: they’re completely fake.”
The hyperrealism of the butterflies in the series are undermined by the flatness of the block coloured backdrops. Hirst’s intuitive colour choice is based on aesthetic and non-rational demands that have remained in his practice since his art training at Goldsmiths. Each print in The Wonder Of You shows the butterflies in a playful array of bright and contrasting colours producing an eye-catching print with universal appeal.
Why is The Wonder Of You series so important?
The Wonder Of You series plays on the spiritual symbolism of the butterfly that has remained prominent throughout Hirst’s career. The motif of the butterfly has been used by the Greeks to depict Psyche, the soul, and in Christian imagery represents resurrection. This series is important in the way it reflects how Hirst uses the butterfly motif as a ‘universal trigger’ that represents feelings of love and hope for many people.
The butterfly motif also speaks to the artist’s preoccupation with the concept that art mirrors life. Not only is each butterfly born with a unique pattern that mimics the individuality that frames much of human life, but the butterfly for Hirst symbolises growth, change, life and death. The butterfly motif appears both in printed editions as well as in installations where visitors are situated in a room of live butterflies.
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