A closer look at Damien Hirst's iconic pill series of artworks

Damien Hirst, Schizophrenogenesis book. Courtesy Paul Stolper / Other Criteria © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd 2017

A garishly-coloured, cylindrical pill has become almost as synonymous with YBA enfant terrible Damien Hirst as a formaldehyde shark.

The artist has a long history of fascination with these little panaceas, and his Schizophrenogenesis works based around them were first shown at Paul Stolper Gallery in October 2014. According to the gallery, they “act as a continuation of Hirst’s life-long investigation into our almost-spiritual relationship with the rigours of science and the pharmaceutical industry.”

Now a new limited-edition Schizophrenogenesis book has been launched by Paul Stolper Gallery in collaboration with Other Criteria. Taking the form of a pill sealed in a blister pack, the publication showcases all of Hirst’s work in this series.

These including a series of 30 silkscreen prints showing a two-tone pill set against bold coloured backdrops, The Cure; his resin sculpture pill pieces; other sculptures of medical accoutrements such as medicine bottles, syringes or a scalpel; and images of drug packaging-based works that take tiny pill packets and engage them to ludicrous scales – one such piece is almost a metre and a half tall.

"Pills are a brilliant little form, better than any minimalist art," says Hirst. "They’re all designed to make you buy them… they come out of flowers, plants, things from the ground, and they make you feel good, you know, to just have a pill, to feel beauty."

On show at the Paul Stolper Gallery in collaboration with Other Criteria until 11 March 2017.

Damien Hirst, Schizophrenogenesis book. Courtesy Paul Stolper / Other Criteria © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd 2017

Damien Hirst, Schizophrenogenesis book. Courtesy Paul Stolper / Other Criteria © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd 2017

Damien Hirst, Schizophrenogenosis book. Courtesy Paul Stolper / Other Criteria © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd 2017

Damien Hirst, Schizophrenogenosis book. Courtesy Paul Stolper / Other Criteria © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd 2017

Damien Hirst, Schizophrenogenosis book. Courtesy Paul Stolper / Other Criteria © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd 2017

Damien Hirst, Schizophrenogenosis book. Courtesy Paul Stolper / Other Criteria © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd 2017

Damien Hirst, Schizophrenogenosis book. Courtesy Paul Stolper / Other Criteria © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd 2017

Damien Hirst, Schizophrenogenosis book. Courtesy Paul Stolper / Other Criteria © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd 2017

Damien Hirst, Schizophrenogenosis book. Courtesy Paul Stolper / Other Criteria © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd 2017

Damien Hirst, Schizophrenogenosis book. Courtesy Paul Stolper / Other Criteria © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd 2017

Damien Hirst, Schizophrenogenosis book. Courtesy Paul Stolper / Other Criteria © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd 2017

Damien Hirst, Schizophrenogenosis book. Courtesy Paul Stolper / Other Criteria © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd 2017