Damien Hirst
He Tried to Internalise Everything, 1992-1994

He Tried to Internalise Everything is from the 1990s series Internal Affairs, a group of glass-walled cells containing everyday objects such as tools, clothing and furniture arranged in scenes that suggest a human presence. Hirst was inspired by a 1990 crime-thriller film in which a Los Angeles police department sets up an independent body to look into their own affairs. Collectively, the cells tackle themes of claustrophobia and breathlessness, as well as the anxieties caused by modern medicine.


In this installation, medical objects – an anaesthetiser and two gas cylinders containing a medical stimulant and suppressant – become metaphors for states of mind and the split personality of a modern man whose mood swings have been manipulated by modern science.


Hirst’s division of the vitrine into three glass compartments violently bisects the office furniture from the cylinders, creating a carefully controlled situation that parodies a laboratory experiment. The reflective glass also carries a sense Big Brother-style surveillance for the viewer, who is at once observing and being observed.



Image credit:

Damien Hirst

He Tried to Internalise Everything, 1992 – 1994

Glass, steel, silicone rubber, Formica, MDF, chair, general anaesthetic machine and gas cylinders

84 x 84 x 228 in (2134 x 2134 x 5791 mm)

© Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2013

Photo credit:  Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd