Damien Hirst once said that his ‘works should attract you and repel you at the same time.’ His practice often draws upon themes of life and death, raising questions about the fragility of our existence. Here in Summer Sky, different breeds of butterflies are spread across the surface plane of the image. The vibrant blues, acrid yellows and bright oranges of these insect’s iridescent wings seem to glint against the pale-blue background.
Hirst began making ‘Butterfly Paintings’ in 1991, when he exhibited his first solo show In and Out of Love at White Cube, London. The exhibition was spread over two floors, where an exciting process of transformation took place: upstairs, pupae were attached to white paintings as butterflies actively hatched during the opening; downstairs, dead butterflies became scattered upon colourful canvases. The full lifecycle of these butterflies unfolded during the opening, resulting in a spectacular and memorable performance.