In and Out of Love

21 June 1991 – 26 July 1991
Solo Exhibition. Woodstock Street, London, United Kingdom.

‘In and Out of Love (White Paintings and Live Butterflies)’ (1991). Photographed by Alex Hartley © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2012

The show was organised by Tamara Chozdko in a former travel agency in Woodstock Street, London. ‘In and Out of Love’ was made up of two works. In the upstairs space, ‘In and Out of Love (White Paintings and Live Butterflies)’ (1991) was presented, whilst the downstairs space contained ‘In and Out of Love (Butterfly Paintings and Ashtrays)’ (1991).

In the humid upstairs room, butterflies emerged from pupae attached to white painted canvases. Flowers and sugar water enabled the butterflies to fly, mate and lay eggs until they died. In the second installation, monochrome gloss paintings, with the bodies of dead butterflies fixed into the paint, surrounded a central table punctuated by overflowing ashtrays. The ashtrays were included to give the impression of a private view. Hirst explained of the exhibition: “I tried to make a comparison between art and life in the upstairs and downstairs installations, a crazy thing to do when in the end it’s all art.”[1]

‘In and Out of Love (Butterfly Paintings and Ashtrays)’ was the first exhibition of works from Hirst’s series of butterfly monochrome paintings.  Following the show, a detail from one of the works was featured on the cover of the first edition of ‘Frieze’ magazine (July 1991). 

‘In and Out of Love (Butterfly Paintings and Ashtrays)’ was sold at the exhibition, whilst Hirst retained ownership of ‘In and Out of Love’ (White Paintings and Live Butterflies)’. The two works are united at Tate Modern’s 'Damien Hirst' retrospective for the first time since their exhibition at Woodstock Street. 

[1] Damien Hirst cited in ‘Damien Hirst & Sophie Calle’, ‘Internal Affairs’ (Jay Jopling/ICA, 1991), unpag.