Black Heaven (Nite Time) is an inkjet, glaze, and foil block print from Damien Hirst’s Utopia series from 2013. Using the medical pill as a central motif, this print is a dramatically cropped image of Hirst’s sculpture The Void from 2000, the artist’s first pill cabinet work that he ever made. The print shows four pills on display in a mirrored medical cabinet, crisply reflecting the pills that appear like little minimalist sculptures, depicted in photographic detail.
Explaining his interest in the aestheticization of medicine Hirst has said: ‘People have confidence in medicine. I noticed they were looking at shiny colours and bright shapes and nice white coats and cleanliness and they were going right - this is going to be my saviour, except they weren’t reading the side-effects. There seems to be a lot of trickery going on. I think art is a hell of a lot better for you than medicine, in the long run. You don’t get a long list of side-effects – or maybe you do.’
The depiction of medical pills in this photographic and therefore highly realistic way provides the print with an allusion of straightforward sterility, however the themes of mortality, addiction and the human condition that lie beneath the surface make this print both complex and mysterious.