The drug accompanies this transition and becomes its symbol. As early as 1989, aged 24, he realizes some cabinet installations filled with boxes and bottles. One of them is entitled God.
A trigger happens ten years later during a night of insomnia, according to him. He keeps on shelves between a glass window and a mirror wall a high quantity of painted plaster pills, making sure that they are all different in shape, size or color. Each pill is positioned individually, well separated from the others by regular intervals, like never before a doctor or a patient would have think for storing a medicine.
His first pill cabinets are monumental, bringing to the artist the notion of unlimited space that was lacking in his mystical quest. The effect of the individual pill, which is his atom or his quantum, will remain a mystery. Perhaps there is none : death is inevitable.
Hirst is not Thomas Aquinas : his pills do not answer an everlasting question that is perhaps only poorly expressed. Yet along his career he will continue to create works on this theme, smaller and less careful in the details for saving time.
On May 18 in New York, Phillips sells one of the earliest pill cabinets, lot 8 estimated $ 5M. Made in 2000, it is gigantic: 236 x 470 x 11 cm. It is titled The Void.
Lullaby Winter, 72 x 108 x 4 cm, made in 2002, was sold for $ 7.4M including premium by Christie's on May 16, 2007. Fragments of Paradise, 183 x 276 x 10 cm, made in 2008, was sold for £ 5.2M including premium by Sotheby's on September 15, 2008 in the auction specially curated with Hirst under the title Beautiful inside my head forever.
Please watch the video shared by Phillips.
SOLD for $ 5.9M including premium