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Cradle to the Grave

David Critchley
2003

Mixed media installation

Cradle to the Grave

Cradle to Grave is an art installation by Susie Freeman, Dr Liz Lee and David Critchley that explores our approach to health in Britain today, and reflects some of the ways in which people deal with sickness and try to secure well-being. The installation uses three linked narratives to convey this message: a pill 'diary', objects and documents, and personal photographs.

The two 13-metre lengths of fabric illustrate the medical stories of a man and a woman. These stories are based on the composite patient records of eight individuals at specific times of life. Each piece contains over 14,000 drugs, the estimated average prescribed to every person in Britain in their lifetime. This does not include over-the-counter remedies, vitamins or other self-prescription pills.

On either side of the pill diary are personal objects, documents and medical equipment that relate to daily life as well as to significant events. Interspersing these are groups of photographs, with captions written by the owners, tracing typical moments in real people's lives. The photographs, drawn from the albums of friends, family and colleagues of the artists, reflect personal responses to health and show that maintaining well-being is often more complex than just treating periods of illness.

Cradle to the Grave is an permanent installation at the Wellcome Trust Gallery at the British Museum.

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