“Art goes on in your head. If you said something interesting, that might be a title for a work of art and I'd write it down. Art comes from everywhere. It's your response to your surroundings. There are on-going ideas I've been working out for years, like how to make a rainbow in a gallery. I've always got a massive list of titles, of ideas for shows, and of works without titles.” – Damien Hirst
Butterflies will be landing in the East Wing on November 24th when we install a Damien Hirst work, on loan to us for five years.
The work, Bringing Forth the Fruits of Righteousness from Darkness, is one of Hirst’s famous butterfly paintings. He has butterflies bred specifically for his projects and then embeds them on canvasses in household paint. These works explore themes of life and death and the butterfly paintings in particular follow the tradition of memento mori which is a Latin phrase that translates to “remember you will die”.
Memento mori has been a theme used in art since antiquity and is intended to remind people of their mortality. This genre comes through in the butterfly paintings because often these insects are symbolic of life and death, and for this piece they had to die to make such a beautiful piece of art.
Other works by Hirst include For the Love of God which is a human skull that Hirst recreated in platinum and blinged out with more than 8,000 diamonds. He also suspends animals like cows, tiger sharks, sheep and goats in tanks of formaldehyde. These and other works like his medicine cabinets and spin art have skyrocketed Hirst to fame in the art world.
Most if not all of Hirst’s work fall on the macabre side, but don’t let that deter you. This work is a very elaborate and beautiful piece that will be on view in CMA’s East Wing, so make sure you check it out and decipher your own meaning from it.