Foam To Femme

1a. untitled

Much of last year I worked with my Pharmacopoeia partner, GP Liz Lee, on a commission for Denmark. Medicinsk Museion is a combined research unit and public museum at Copenhagen University, which in recent years reinvented itself by developing insightful, contemporary exhibitions alongside their historical collection of medical equipment and artefacts.

Our brief was to create an artwork themed to metabolic syndrome; a cluster of illnesses linked to the increase in obesity such as high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease. When our research revealed the scale of medication the syndrome often necessitates, early ideas for a small piece in a gallery cabinet grew into something much larger for the museum entrance on Bredgade.

The rather grand building is listed so attaching anything to walls or ceiling strictly forbidden. Our proposed figurative sculpture needed a strong enough base to support layers of surprisingly weighty pill cloth. And then there was the challenging narrow entrance to my attic studio; anything constructed in there has to come apart to fit through a slender 24 inch doorway and down six flights of stairs. I called in the cavalry.

Two friends, Val Jones and Esteban Mendoza who work in the film industry, built a sturdy but collapsible framework and a giant ballooning ‘foam fatale’ skirt – thankfully strong enough to support the 27,774 pills prescribed to one woman for 10 years treatment of her metabolic syndrome.

1b. dentist chairs

Dentist chairs

2. pocket knitting

Pocket knitting

3. sampling


4. measuring space

Measuring space

5. measuring waist

Measuring waist

6. Este builds framework

Este builds framework

7. Val constructs foam fatale

Val constructs foam fatale

8. underskirt


9. gliclazide, candesartan, simvastatin

Gliclazide, Candesartan, Simvastatin

10. Aspirin


11. Ipren


12. crown construction

Crown construction

13. about that big

About that big

14. done

Come in, vi er åbne

15. Femme Vitale by Pharmacopoeia (P1050316)

Femme Vitale by Pharmacopoeia

Pharmacopoeia / Femme Vitale

Susie Freeman / The Rowley Gallery

Frames of reference

5 thoughts on “Foam To Femme”

  1. A really stunning piece. Not only very thought provoking, but also very beautiful.

  2. An interesting narrative that provides the back story to a work that is both formally striking and visually engaging but crucially addresses a serious health issue in a witty and accessible way.

  3. Most interesting and thought provoking as ever.
    It’s rare these days that contemporary art stirs the mind as comprehensively as does Pharmacopoeia. Respect.

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