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With the ten Medicine Cabinets (1989), as with Pharmacy (1992), if you know what the former contents of the packets, bottles and pill-boxes were used for, there is no pharmaceutical rationale behind how they have been arranged: for example, three different styles of labelling of Senokot bottles (god, E.M.I. and Anarchy), and two of Gaviscon, (Seventeen and E.M.I.), appear in unrelated cabinets (each one named, in order, after the tracks of the Sex Pistols' album Never Mind the Bollocks... .).
For all that is said about Hirst’s curatorship, the fact that an anti-psychotic or an anti-depressant is seen side by side with something quite unrelated such as a pain-killer leads me believe that it is the aesthetic appearance that has influenced the arrangement within the display-units. (This cannot as easily be seen from what the Tate’s catalogue features for Pharmacy, as it does it a relative disservice in depicting it, compared with the earlier works.) The lower shelf of Seventeen, at the right, contains a whole jumble, and, at the far left, a big brown glass bottle obscured by an item in front (as in other cabinets, e.g. No Feelings, Pretty Vacant and Bodies).
If then, as with Lullaby, the Seasons (2002), it is the overall effect that it is important, not the pills, tablets and capsules themselves, but their effect against their mirrored background, then anyone looking at these old containers of medication without thinking how they have been put on the shelf is missing a major element.