Unsigned copies also available.
Published on the occasion of Damien Hirst’s exhibition at L&M Gallery, New York, October 2010, the first ever medicine cabinets book is contextualised by the artist’s following of the punk movement. The first twelve sculptures in the book are named after the title tracks on the Sex Pistols’ Never Mind the Bollocks album. The front page newspaper spreads punctuating the book from the album’s release year (1977) and the year of the cabinets’ completion (1989) provide a context for reading James Frey’s story poem, Fuck This and Fuck That, which describes the listless protest of a teenage waster.
The song titles and cabinet names - No Feelings, Liar and Seventeen - resound with the frustrations of Thatcherite Britain and the violence borne out in daily uprest and anarchy, as depicted in the news: IRA MEN HELD IN BIG SWOOP; RIOT SHIELDS OUT AGAIN and DOCKS JOBS-FOR-LIFE TO BE AXED BY AUTUMN.
Hirst’s medicine cabinets have long been described as temples of medicinal hierarchies providing nothing more than a short-term cure in the face of death. Viewing the pervasive / successes and exploitations of the pharmaceutical industry as a belief system in itself is evidence of our dependency and a form of escapism.
Hirst has commented: ‘I’ve always seen medicine cabinets as bodies, but also like a cityscape or civilization, with some sort of hierarchy within it. It’s also like a contemporary museum of the Middle Ages. In a hundred years time this will look like an old apothecary. A museum of something that’s around today.’
The publication features a radio broadcast interview between Damien Hirst and Steve Jones, the Sex Pistols’ guitarist, covering music, girls, money, drugs, drinks and smokes. The book’s index lists every medicine cabinet ever made and the exhibition itself will include original Sex Pistols memorabilia including album sleeves and t-shirts.
Damien Hirst was born in Bristol in 1965. He first came to public attention in 1988 when he conceived and curated ‘Freeze’, an exhibition of his own work and that of his contemporaries at Goldsmiths college, staged in a disused London warehouse. Since this time Hirst has become widely recognised as one of the most influential artists of his generation.
Through a varied practise of installation, sculpture, painting and drawing Hirst has sought to explore the complex relationship between art, life and death. Alongside over 80 solo exhibitions he has worked on numerous curatorial projects. In 2008, Hirst took the unprecedented step of bypassing gallery involvement in selling 244 new works at a Sotheby’s, London auction entitled ‘Beautiful Inside My Head Forever’.
Hirst was awarded the Turner Prize in 1995 and his contribution to British art over the last two and a half decades has been acknowledged in a major solo retrospective exhibited at Tate Modern, London. He lives in Devon and has studios in Gloucester and London.
Text © Damien Hirst & Science Ltd., All rights reserved, 2012