Damien Hirst’s ‘The Aspects’, a series of five prints focused on the butterfly from 2019, remarkably captures to a captivating degree the sensation of looking through a kaleidoscope. In various hues of blue and white, singular or paired images of disembodied butterfly wings form various symmetrical yet arresting compositions, which appear to be in a constant state of flux.

The images of butterfly wings are brought to life through these diasec-mounted giclée prints on aluminium – while they are not real the material nonetheless captures the butterflies with a lifelike clarity. The luminously coloured wings are balanced by an apparent delicacy, together eliciting connections to stained glass windows.

From early on in his career, Hirst has been endlessly captivated by the butterfly’s remarkable ability to remain just as gloriously beautiful in death as it is in life. He has drawn on this notion for ‘The Aspects’ series, as well as taken inspiration from Victorian tea trays, which fascinate him for their intricate patterns of butterfly wings.

Religious symbolism has been attributed to the butterfly for centuries, considered by the Greeks to depict the soul and Christians to signify the resurrection. In the five complex and awe-inspiring compositions of ‘The Aspects’, Hirst embraces the mystical sensibility of the butterfly to establish it as an uplifting and radiant symbol of mortality.

A perfectly symmetrical composition, ‘Mercy’ (H6-1) is uniquely divided vertically in half. However, the work is nonetheless underpinned by a sense of an organised chaos which allows the wings to appear alive, seeming flying across the picture plane. With a single pair of brilliant light blue wings at its centre, the butterfly wings of ‘Grace’ (H6-2) are arranged into a symmetrical composition that is divided into quarters. The arrangement is apparently ever-changing, with new passages, patterns and wings revealing themselves to the viewer the longer they stand before it. ‘Patience’ (H6-3) is immediately visually arresting for its eight black lines that diagonally jut out from the central pair of wings to divide the picture plane. Adding an additional complexity to the composition, these lines are also captivating for the way that they cut through pairs of wings, apparently mirroring the hairy black bodies that once stood in their place. Perhaps the most compositionally complex work from the series, in ‘Goodness’ (H6-4) Hirst harnessed the extensive variety of blue and white butterfly wings to create an ever-entrancing composition. At the foundation of the composition is a six-point star, which takes on a new life in each layer of its development and is framed by an equally captivating arrangement of wings. ‘Truth’ (H6-5) stands out from the series in its unique use of the concentric circle composition. A nod to his ‘Mandalas’ series, Hirst harnesses the alternate use of white butterfly wings to create a pattern that appears to rescind into the print, the composition appearing almost dome-like as it leads the eye from the boundaries of the picture plane into the central wings.


H6-1, H6-2, H6-3, H6-4, H6-5


100 x 100 cm each


Diasec-mounted Giclée print on aluminium composite panel

Edition Size

50 + 10 AP


Signed & numbered on the reverse


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Condition report available upon request.

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