Damien Hirst


Pills and Medicine

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Famously obsessed with morbid subject matter, Damien Hirst first incorporated pharmaceuticals into his work in his 1980s “Medicine Cabinet” series, using old prescriptions found in the bathroom of his recently deceased grandmother. For this series, Hirst arranged the medicine according to their function on the human body—from migraine pills on the top shelf to foot cream on the bottom. In the years since, Hirst has made outsized sculptures of candy-colored pills and human-sized scalpels, as well as immersive installations that make the viewer feel like they’ve entered a working pharmacy. The works, which can be interpreted as a metaphor for the healing power of art, hold a special place in the artist’s heart. Perhaps most admired is The Void (2000), a mammoth glass shelf containing single pills arranged in a perfect grid. “I think it’s like the best piece I’ve ever made,” Hirst said of the installation.

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