Held at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, the show included four important new works, among them the first piece from the ‘Mental Escapology’ series, ‘I Want to Spend the Rest of My Life Everywhere, with Everyone, One to One, Always, Forever, Now’ (1991). In addition there were two vitrine pieces, ‘Sometimes I Avoid People’ (1991) and ‘The Acquired Inability to Escape’ (1991), as well as Hirst’s first exhibited work incorporating formaldehyde solution, ‘Anaesthetics (and the Way They Affect the Mind and Body)’ (1991).
The works shown were described by the artist as more personal and consequently more problematic than his previous pieces: “I think in ‘Internal Affairs’ it’s clumsy because that whole idea of the self being objective and looking into self is clumsy. The tools that you really need or the keys aren’t there but you can sometimes take a screw out with a knife.”
Reviewing the exhibition in the Burlington Magazine, Richard Shone characterised the “essential fuel” of Hirst’s work as “uncertainty, contradiction, mortality, unease – transformed from personal phobias into compelling art.”
A catalogue, produced in an edition of 2,000, accompanied the exhibition; it included an essay by Charles Hall and Hirst’s fictional conversation with artist Sophie Calle (ICA/Jay Jopling, 1991).