Art Institute of Chicago

Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL, United States

One of Hirst's first instrument cabinets is exhibited in the Modern and Contemporary Galleries at the Art Institute of Chicago.

'Still' (1994)

Photographed by Stephen White
©Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2016

‘Still’ and ‘Naked’ are the first pieces in Hirst’s series of iconic instrument cabinets, in which medical apparatus are meticulously arranged within a stainless steel display cabinet. ‘Still’ was originally exhibited in a solo show at White Cube, Duke Street, in 1995 (‘Still’). The two cabinets were shown together for the first time in 2010 at Hirst’s retrospective at Musée Océanographique de Monaco ‘Cornucopia’.

Hirst’s first use of medical and surgical instruments was inspired by David Cronenberg’s film ‘Dead Ringers’ (1988).[1] Of the allure of the tools he explains: “They are phenomenal objects because they have to have this confidence and this belief. They are the best quality. They are brilliantly designed, for all the right reasons.”[2] Hirst explains that the cabinets could not have been made if he hadn’t developed the spot paintings: “Without the spot paintings, ‘Still’ would have been a god awful mess. But once you do the spots, and take all colour considerations away, it just spews out somehow.”[3]

[1] Damien Hirst cited in ‘Like People, Like Flies: Damien Hirst Interviewed’, Mirta D’Argenzio, ‘The Agony and the Ecstasy: Selected Works from 1989–2004’ (Electa Napoli, 2004), 182
[2] ibid., 182
[3] ibid., 127