Imitative of pharmaceutical packaging, Liver, Bacon, Onions uses a simple, limited pallet of four colours. The words ‘Liver, Bacon, Onions’ replace the medicine name, and in place of the manufacturer's logo Hirst creates another, using his own initials: ‘DSH’. Some pharmaceutical descriptions and measurements remain, alongside dosage warnings. The words ‘CAUTION S2, USE STRICTLY AS DIRECTED, KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN’ are darkly humorous in this context, particularly when paired with a food type that may not be popular amongst children.
In this series Hirst takes everyday, cafeteria foods and holds them up to Christian faith and the perceived glamour of pharmaceuticals. He shows us how these medicines have become commonplace, their packaging familiar and the contents trusted. For Hirst our relationship with medicine is a belief system, very much like art or religion.
Pharmaceutical imagery, glamour and idolisation can be found early in the artist’s career in his Medicine Cabinet series. Empty medicine packaging is displayed in cabinets under titles including ‘Holidays’, ‘New York’ and ‘God’. Later, he uses similar cabinets to display brightly coloured pills and cubic zirconia.
Hirst’s ongoing questioning of human faith can be found again and again throughout his work. Signed and unnumbered (as is true of all prints in the series) this print can be considered an important piece within the artist’s catalogue raisonné.