Side Effects

Side Effects was a body of work created in 2003 consisting of digitally altered photographic prints of pharmaceuticals (antibiotic, antipsychotic, and antidepressant medications). For the most part I used actual pills scanned at a high resolution to create images which I manipulated in Photoshop, and printed on high gloss photo paper.

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The Metronidazole Series, ©2003 Marsian De Lellis

The largest body of work was The Metronidazole Series, centered on an antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections of the vagina, stomach, liver, skin, joints, brain, and respiratory tract. The Metronidazole Series consisted of 36 images, which were sold in editions of 5.

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Zyprexa #46, Abilify #6Seroquel #11, ©2003 Marsian De Lellis

The Atypical Antipsychotic Series consisted of Zyprexa #46, Abilify #6, Seroquel #11, Rispiridone #12, and Geodon #9.  The were two editions (small and large). The small edition prints were 8.5″  x 8.5″, while the large edition prints were 24.5″ x 24.5″.

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“Half Life” series, ©2003 Marsian De Lellis

The Half Life Series, consisted of a 10 milligram sample package of Paxil documented over 8 days as it was used to wean off the drug. At the time people were becoming more aware of antidepressant discontinuation syndrome caused by Paxil’s relatively short half life.

Initially Side Effects was a solo show at Ocean Coffee Roasters and then select large format antipsychotics were exhibited at Woods-Gerry Gallery and the Biltmore in Providence, Rhode Island.

“The flash of science, and its miraculous color effects, beams, transpositions, and traversals, glistens on the photo paper.”

In 2007, Side Effects (and specifically Respirdone #12) was included in a chapter of Petra Kuppers’ book,  The Scar Of Visibility: Medical Performances And Contemporary Art published by the University of Minnesota Press. Kuppers, a professor of performance studies and disability culture, examined the use of medical imagery practices in contemporary art, as well as different arts of everyday life (self-help groups, community events, internet sites), focusing on fantasies and “knowledge projects” surrounding the human body.

“De Lellis’s series, ‘Side Effects’ shows a range of different pills, their identifying marks and different shapes and sizes, in a disco-ball-like, festive, and colorful environment. The manipulation of psychosis and schizophrenia diagnoses by medication, the treatment of choice within biomedicine, is refigured into a carnivalesque hallucinatory vision. . . Ambivalence hangs over the exhibition: a fascination and revulsion, attraction and denunciation, a buying in and buying out”

Metronidazole #52, #6, #37

Exhibition History

2004 – The Biltmore (Providence, RI)
2003 – Woods-Gerry Gallery  (Providence, RI)
2003 – Ocean Coffee Roasters  (Providence, RI)


2007 – The Scar Of Visibility: Medical Performances And Contemporary Art