Damien Hirst’s Butterflies

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I was purchasing deceased butterflies on eBay because I would like to retain my idea of ruining, distorting or altering natural objects that derived from researching Mat Collishaw’s artwork and butterflies have always been a common theme since I began creative processes. From this I came across some work of Damien Hirst of which I haven’t seen before for whatever reason. I think these pieces are amazing and are very relevant although I do not agree with the extent to which Hirst has gone in using so many butterflies – did he kill them? (The butterflies I have purchased were kept healthily and then preserved after a natural death).

However, I find the way Hirst has developed pieces which are distressing yet aesthetically pleasing and actually quite uplifting really effective in displaying a level of cynicism of nature which is really relevant to my subject work. The fact that the butterflies are no longer alive is saddening yet the aesthetic that Hirst has produced, which is ironically a very personal arrangement, and imagery because I have tendency to draw mandala type shapes, is contradicting the emotion from the butterflies which kind of presents a sense of ignorance because as you would look at the full pieces whilst discarding what they are made of, the emotion toward them would change. This reminds me again the ideas that Chris Jordan from the Midway Projects works from for his artwork in that in order to remember that the deaths of all those butterflies, the innate, immediate emotion should be accepted before the larger, sadistically beautiful image is considered and removes the initial emotion from the memory.

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