Damien Hirst’s Butterfly mandalas

I finally got to the Tate Modern to see the Damien Hirst exhibition yesterday and his butterfly ‘paintings’ are stunning. Kaleidoscopic, geometric mandalas, some of which glow like stained glass windows, they are quite breathtaking to behold. I’m no particular Hirst fan, I can take or (usually) leave him but occasionally he comes up with a winner and this is definitely one of them.

Posted in Art. |

11 thoughts on “Damien Hirst’s Butterfly mandalas

  1. Mark. Grow a pair. They are bugs. Nearly everything on earth kills bugs for food and their “life” ceases in no time. Even you eat multiple spiders while you sleep each year. Drive a car? Thousands of dead bugs. But immortalizing then in art that will last (probably) a thousand years is unethical? Stop driving. There’s no difference between a moth with beautiful wing and one stuck to your windshield.

  2. Yes, Lori Precious (from whom Hirst stole the idea) recounts finding her first bags of butterfly wings at a flea market in Prague. They are indeed farmed for collectors. Farmed like fur. Mark Lightowler, you write “completely in ethical” — are you saying unethical? I find it gross.
    That said, I love insects and when I find a DEAD butterfly on the sidewalk, I do pick it up and sometimes glue it into a painting. I do the same with shed lizard/snake skin I find in the garden, beetles, and bird’s feathers.

  3. He stole the idea from Los Angeles artist Lori Precious.
    Plagiarism is revolting.
    I find these works, of both artists, also revolting. Hirst of course has made rotting charceuterie his ouvre. In the case of each artist, raising a creature to kill and mutilate it for its beauty is deeply perverted, like wearing fur.

  4. enjoyed the commentary. Hello my name is Mickie Nolan and I am writing a term paper comparing 2 pieces of Damien Hirst’s work. Do you the dimentions of the Mandala that looks like the Eye Of Rah? Red wings in the middle. It is the last one on this page. Thank you Very much

  5. Thanks for the information @mark lightowler on butterfly ‘art’.
    Re Hirst, I don’t think he deserves the oxygen of publicity.

  6. I came here through news of Hirst decorating the Connaught Hotel’s Christmas tree…then read his ‘butterfly mandala’ is hanging in one of their restaurants. Thanks @mark lightowler for explaining how this butterfly ‘art’ is produced. A wh

  7. Mark Lightowler…Do as I say but dont do as I do…I am not a fan of Hursts work either but I would find your views valid if you were not doing the same thing in some way yourself. What is the difference between what Hursts did and you injecting butterlfies with arsenic, to pin them on a board to straighten them out and then to display them in a private collection inside your antique display case for your own benefit or pleasure? Kettle pot and black come to mind.

  8. That’s interesting Mark, I didn’t know that, where did you find out that the wings were taken from Butterflies that had been killed? I’m not disputing it, just keen to know the source of info. Hirst thrives on disturbing as anyone who has seen his mother and child cows sliced in half would probably agree. That doesn’t make it right of course.

  9. I recently came across these images of ‘Hursts’ butterfly canvases, using real butterfly wings. As a Wildlife Artist and Lepidopterist ( Study of Butterflies & Moths ) I find this work incredibly disturbing. I believe most people think the paintings are made from butterfly wings that have been shed, which is not true at all. Butterflies & their cousins Moths, never shed their wings and in some cases only live 2 to 3 weeks as an adult insect. The wings in Hurst’s pictures are from butterflies that have been killed on butterfly farms in Asia for the purpose of cutting their wings off to make pretty pictures. Bags of butterfly wings can be bought through various on line sites that have been farmed. This is completely in ethical and something that our ancestors in the Victorian era commonly did. This is not a new concept although Hurst would like everyone to think so. The Victorians were preserving animals long before he came along.

    I am certainly not a fan of his work and these particular pictures sicken me. Thousands of butterflies will have been killed for the sole purpose of producing these pieces of which I can’t personally call art! Such a waste of these beautiful and enigmatic creatures which of course play an important roll within the eco system.

    Lastly, if kept in the light, hanging on a wall, these pictures will eventually fade. U.V. light destroyed the colours and patterns on a butterflies wing causing them to fade to white. Museum collections for scientific study are kept in the dark allowing the insects to retain their colour for hundreds of years. This also means that specimens collected in the Victorian era can be studied further, without taking new examples from the wild.

    Thank you for reading my comments and I hope no new works appear with the use of butterflies wings!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *