Jean Shin
Previous | Next

Chemical Balance, 2005-09

Chemical Balance III, 2009
Prescription bottles, mirror and epoxy, fluorescent lights
5 units, from 18 to 40 inches in diameter
Overall dimensions variable
Installation at Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.


Chemical Balance II
, 2005

Prescription bottles, mirror and epoxy

7 units, from 18 to 38 inches in diameter

Commissioned by University Art Museum, Albany, NY

To create this work, thousands of empty prescription pill bottles were collected from nursing homes, pharmacies and individuals’ medicine cabinets. Like stalactites and stalagmites, the constructions hang down from above and grow upwards from the floor below. Chemical Balance speaks to our culture’s over-consumption of prescription drugs and our bodies’ dependency on these medications. The piece acts like a group portrait, mapping our society’s chemical intake. The illuminated structures radiate with an intense orange glow, suggesting that issues of health reach far beyond the physical.

image of artwork
Chemical Balance III, 2009Chemical Balance II, 2005 Chemical Balance II, 2005Chemical Balance II, 2005Chemical Balance II, 2005