When Logics Die (figs. 212 - 214), 1991 - 1999



When Logics Die (figs. 212 - 214)
1991 - 1999
Dimensions variable
Formica, MDF, steel, photographs mounted on aluminium, surgical instruments, hospital paraphernalia, steel ruler and laminated text
Image: Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2012


Group Exhibition - 2013
Tripostal / Lille3000, Lille, France
Group Exhibition - 2010
Gagosian Gallery, Britannia Street, London, United Kingdom
Group Exhibition - 2000
Anne Faggionato, London, United Kingdom


This work is one of five from a series titled ‘When Logics Die’ made between 1991 and 1999. The series title derives from a line in Dylan Thomas’ poem, ‘Light Breaks where No Sun Shines’ (1953). 

In the mixed media work, images from a pathology journal are sealed on to aluminium. Beneath the images is a lab table on which autopsy instruments and hospital apparatus are precisely laid out according to a detailed plan. Hirst has discussed his interest in the ultimate “ridiculousness” of the medical instruments as a means of attempting to deal with death.[1] 

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’ are taken.

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 explains: “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 twentieth 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