Kept in orderly precision within a sleek and sterile vitrine, these drugs have been exalted on display as untouchable holy relics. Hirst reflects, “In 100 years’ time they will look like an old apothecary. A museum of something that’s around today” (ibid., p. 139). Through the wide-range specific selection of drugs, Hirst envisions the medicine cabinets as portraits of their imaginary owners. Like Oldenburg’s soft sculptures that evoked anthropomorphic associations of quotidian items from everyday life, Hirst elaborates: “I chose the size and shape of the cabinet like a body. I wanted it to be kind of human, like with an abdomen and a chest and guts” (the artist in Exh. Cat., Naples, Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Damien Hirst, 2004, p. 105-106). If the humanized medicine cabinet indeed functions as a mirror, it is a potent signifier of humanity’s fraught endeavors to overcome mortality through science—which is, perhaps, ultimately nothing more than a pack of lies.
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