Femme Vitale

Femme Vitale Medical Museon

Pharmacopoeia’s sculptural figure explores the complexity of Metabolic Syndrome. At the core of the syndrome is a metabolic process called insulin resistance which is linked to increasing obesity. The consequences of this vary from person to person and may include high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and heart disease

We examined the real prescribing records of two individual patients, one Danish and the other from the UK. They are both women in their forties who have diabetes and high blood pressure plus a number of other medical problems. One has had a heart attack.

By amalgamating their two records we were able to ‘construct’ a third woman whom we call ‘Femme Vitale’. She has had diabetes for 10 years and a heart attack 4 years ago. Since developing these chronic diseases she has also had an episode of depression and developed arthritis in her knees.

Tablets and capsules are knitted into separate swathes of cloth, each representing a different element of the syndrome. The red ‘heart’ pills form a central core with the mass of diabetic medication flowing out from the 82cm waist. We have specifically chosen this measurement as research has shown that any woman with a waist measurement over 82cm is at increased risk of developing diabetes.

Packaged pills for high blood pressure twist in a helix while lipid lowering statins sweep out from the bustle. Ribbons and decorative details feature painkillers, indigestion medicine and aspirin taken after a heart attack. A ‘crown’ of antidepressants completes the artwork.