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'You kill things to look at them', Hirst has said. In this work, he arranges a selection of ornate shells, purchased in Thailand, inside a glass cabinet. This resembles a museum display case and alludes to the nineteenth-century tradition of collecting and classifying natural specimens. Hirst makes it clear that such an approach involves removing plants and animals from their natural habitat, killing them in order to preserve them. The visual beauty of this work depends on killing the organism, to allow the inhabited shells to be cleaned, polished and transported thousands of miles.

May 2007