The Discursivity of Print: Damien Hirst's Series “The Last Supper” (1999)

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The Last Supper, a suite of 13 of prints by Damien Hirst from 1999, highlights the falsity of the dichotomy of flatness/surficiality/superficiality versus depth and presence. The surface of The Last Supper not only cites the “imagery” of pharmaceutical packaging, but also suggests its smooth appearance and implicitly refers to popular print media, such as magazines and publicity material. Printmaking not only guarantees this work's citational character, but also foregrounds the citationality, or codedness, of these other products of culture. In doing so, it reveals the flatness or surficiality/superficiality so typical of packaging and shows the screen print to be at the very core of people's mediated consumer culture. An investigation of The Last Supper prints demonstrates that the complexity of the changing surface in modernity and postmodernity and its concomitant cultural tropes need to be examined carefully.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-100
Number of pages20
JournalVisual Culture in Britain
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • Hirst, Damien
  • British prints
  • citationality
  • everyday print culture
  • packaging
  • 1965
  • Sandwich
  • Omelette
  • Corned beef


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