Author: Damien Hirst
In 2005 Damien Hirst began photographing every dispensing pharmacy in the Greater London area. Shooting both the individual pharmacists behind their counters and the exterior views of the city's 1,832 chemists, the project has taken over a decade to complete. The images are brought together in their entirety in this extraordinary ten-volume artist's book, which presents a portrait of the city through the people and places that prescribe the medicines we take on a habitual and daily basis. Hirst's career-long obsession with the minimalist aesthetics employed by pharmaceutical companies--the cool colors and simple geometric forms--fi rst manifested in his series of Medicine Cabinets, conceived in 1988 while still at Goldsmiths College. For his 1992 installation Pharmacy Hirst recreated an entire chemist within the gallery space, stating: "I've always seen medicine cabinets as bodies, but also like a cityscape or civilization, with some sort of hierarchy within it. [ Pharmacy ] is also like a contemporary museum. In a hundred years it will look like an old apothecary." Pharmacy London similarly embodies the artist's realization of an "idea of a moment in time." The publica- tion also, however, reads as a distilled expression of Hirst's continuing belief in the near-religious role medicine plays in our society.