When Logics Die (figs. 134 - 135), 1991



When Logics Die (figs. 134 - 135)
Dimensions variable
Formica, MDF, steel, photographs mounted on aluminium, surgical instruments in leather pouch, hospital paraphernalia and laminated text
Image: Courtesy of MCA, San Diego 1994 © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2012


Solo Exhibition - 1991
Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, Paris, France


‘When Logics Die (figs. 134/135)’, part of a series of five works made between 1991 and 1999, was included in Hirst’s eponymously titled solo exhibition at Galerie Perrotin, Paris, in 1991. In the mixed media work images from a pathology journal are sealed on aluminium. Beneath the images is a lab table on which autopsy instruments and hospital apparatus are precisely laid out according to a detailed plan. In the case of ‘When Logics Die (figs. 134/135)’ the images are of a brutal incision to the neck from a suicide case, and a wounded wrist from a fatal road traffic accident. Hirst has discussed his interest in the ultimate “ridiculousness” of the medical instruments as a means of dealing with death.[1] The title 'When Logics Die', derives from a line in Dylan Thomas' poem, ‘Light Breaks where No Sun Shines’ (1953). 

Of his interest in forensic imagery, Hirst cites the formative effect of reading art critic David Sylvester’s interviews with Francis Bacon (1963-1979), in which Bacon discusses the beauty of the colour and form of animal carcasses.[2] The teenage Hirst’s desire to explore these ideas led to his accumulation of an extensive collection of pathology books, from which the images in ‘When Logics Die’ come.

Hirst describes the photographs used in the works as, “horrific visual things. But very beautiful, well-taken photographs. I think that’s what the interest is in – not in actual corpses, but in the fact that they are completely delicious, desirable images of completely undesirable and unacceptable things”.[3]

Of the difficult subject matter in some of his work, the artist states: “I want the viewer to do a lot of work and feel uncomfortable, they should be made to feel responsible for their own view of the world rather than look at an artist’s view and be critical of it.”[4]

[1] Damien Hirst cited in Damien Hirst and Gordon Burn, ‘On the Way to Work’ (Faber and Faber, 2001), 36

[2] Damien Hirst cited in Damien Hirst, ‘My Way into Art’, ‘Foreword: Great Interviews of the 20th Century: Francis Bacon and David Sylvester’ (The Guardian, 2007)

[3] Damien Hirst, ‘I Want to Spend the Rest of My Life Everywhere, with Everyone, One to One, Always, Forever, Now’ (Booth-Clibborn Editions; Reduced edition, 2005), 21

[4] ibid. 16