Monday, 1 February 2010

Damien Hirst 'Pharmacy' Exhibition @ Baltic in Newcastle

I have been in Newcastle this weekend for my best mate's birthday so in between celebrating her 22nd we decided to visit The Baltic to see Damien Hirst's Pharmacy exhibition. It's a weird coincidence that I've just completed a project based around the theme of 'resistance', where I specifically chose to explore the idea of resisting death and this exhibition also parodies the idea of cheating death. The installation was arranged around an Insect-o-cuter which, for Hirst represents the merciless god, killing without emotion and without distinction. His installation included rows of cabinets filled from top to bottom with prescription drugs, the work suggests that medicine, like art, provides a self belief system which can be seductive but deceptive. This exhibition is like a temple to modern medicine which is ironically centered around the insect zapper, it's to remind us of our societies unquestionable confidence in modern medicine and our reliance on medicines which is fundamentally centered on death. It was all very surreal seeing the display counters full of drugs arranged by their colour and shape, the brightness of the packaging distracts you from the small print on the side which highlights the side effects from the drugs and how this confidence in image works for the drug companies reminding us that it's not always what we see is what we get. It had a very clinical and somewhat authoritative atmosphere as you entered the room from behind the counter, it almost felt like I shouldn't of been there. It's weird to think I've never really thought about how there is effectively, a drug for every possible condition and how heavily we rely upon these to make us better.

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