Visual Analysis – YBA


p>Artist: Damien Hirst

Title: Monument to the Living and the Dead

Measures: 2135 x 2135 x 33 mm

Gallery: Tate

Date: 2006


Damien Hirst is a one of the most well-known and popular artists to come from the YBA. His work is unique and very powerful leaving a lasting question and thought in your mind whenever you see any of his pieces. The way that Hirst chooses the titles for his pieces are very smart and impressive. Hirst is known for creating very wacky yet moving pieces that in some cases can change your life and how you see your own life every day. This is just one of his pieces held at the Tate gallery, each of his pieces are all unique from each other and from any other piece of art. In this piece he uses the contrast of the black and the white brilliantly as it links to his title about the living and the dead. Hirst chose to use one consistent object for this piece, butterflies. Hirst has covered both the black and the white sides of the canvas in butterflies, this could suggest many things. One way of looking at it is that he is suggesting that life is no different to death and vice versa. However another way to look at it is that everyone and everything will die in the end. I think that the idea of using both black and white together was an excellent idea by Hirst, it catches your eye and the colours link to the theme and the title of this piece. The choice to have the canvas split equally into two identically sized sections can suggest that Hirst is saying that life and death are both equal. The fact that Hirst has chosen to divide the page by having a horizontal line in the centre is very interesting. I think that the line represents life; this can make you ask yourself does the line start at the top or at the bottom? This shows to me how we start our lives to end up in the ground, starting our lives at the top of the canvas to end up at the bottom. I really like this piece and I think that Damien Hirst is a very inspirational and impressive artist. 


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