In Search of Reality, 2007
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- ImagePhotographed by Prudence Cuming Associates © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2012
‘In Search of Reality’ is one of a series of six pill cabinets dating from 2007. The other five cabinets are titled: ‘In Search of Paradise’, ‘In Search of Knowledge, ‘In Search of Truth’, ‘In Search of Oblivion’ and ‘In Search of Nirvana’. The pills, laid out in neat rows on the shelves of the stainless-steel cabinets, are made from resin and plaster and then hand painted. Initial attempts to use real pills were abandoned because the medication would eventually decay. Of the integrity of artistic materials in his work, Hirst explains: “They look like real pills; that’s all that matters […] Art’s not real life. I’m into theatre not ‘truth to materials’. The whole dilemma is: Is it real or isn’t it?” The cabinets are representative of the position of power that pharmaceuticals hold in our lives and the manner in which science has, for many, replaced religion in the structure of our belief systems.
 Damien Hirst cited in Damien Hirst and Gordon Burn, ‘On the Way to Work’ (Faber and Faber, 2001), 116