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Damien Hirst: Cut Grass – The New Jerusalem

Special display

  • Date iconDecember 20 2022 - July 25 2023
  • Curator: Orly Rabi
  • Aaron Levy Hall

The butterfly is a universal symbol of beauty and fragility, mortality and eternal life. Though it takes to the air for only a few days, after it dies, its form and spectacular colors are preserved. The image of the butterfly in art is identified with the soul and rebirth.

British artist Damien Hirst (born 1965) has been incorporating these creatures in his work for over thirty years, as part of his ongoing interest in issues of beauty and revulsion, sanctity and science, life and death. For this piece, the butterflies were ordered from farms established to curb the poaching and illegal trade that disturb the Earth’s ecological balance. Hirst isolated their wings and used them as readymade objects to create a colorful collage in symmetrical patterns. The work’s composition draws inspiration from stained-glass windows in Christian cathedrals, as well as mandalas from East Asian art. It invites spectators to contemplate the work meditatively, from the outside circles to the center, gradually bringing the viewer closer to the essence of existence.


Damien Hirst
Cut Grass – The New Jerusalem, 2006
Butterflies and household gloss on canvas, diameter 182.9 cm
The Angel Collection of Contemporary Art
© Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS/Artimage 2022
Photo © The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, by Elie Posner