Throughout history, the butterfly has repeatedly been used as a symbol of life and beauty. In Damien Hirst’s work, the insect also serves as a reminder of the fragility of life.
In these stunning works, Hirst captures an image of a butterfly in crystal, for eternity. The panels filter the light, which is in turn rendered blue, pink, amber, green, violet, black or clear. The diversity of colours combined with the three varieties of butterfly - titled by the artist as Love, Hope and Beauty - allows for a multiplicity of choices.
If we are to accept Marcel Duchamp’s proclamation that “it is the beholder who makes the picture”, the choice of panel will inevitably reveal something of the viewer themselves.
Unlike lepidopterists (butterfly collectors), the collector of Eternal captures an impression of this exquisite insect, the trace of its body, the dust on its wings.
This exceptional collaboration between Damien Hirst and Lalique has succeeded in crystallising time, in capturing not only the mysterious beauty of the butterfly, but all that it has come to symbolise.