treasures from the wreck of the unbelievable
Is it true, or was it made now?
These are questions that will keep popping into your head when you are walking through Damien Hirst’s exhibition in Venice, at the Punta Della Dogana. The exhibition “Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable” shows 190 works, which took 10 years to assemble. `
The sculptures seem heavily encrusted in corals and other marine life; some pieces may seem almost unrecognizable which causes the curiosity to arouse. `
The mythical figures seem familiar but have a different touch and I am not sure if this is because of the water or was it Damien’s hand. The exceptional details keep on making you doubt the fictional discovery of an ancient shipwreck. The use of materials like gold, silver, bronze, jade, lapis lazuli, granites and various marble make you realize that this could have only been done by an artist who has sources for it.
The mythical figures call for a feeling of nostalgia like seeing a fairytale displayed. The exhibition contains artistic styles that create an ambiance as if you traveling through ancient Egypt to India, but also western Africa to classical Greece and imperial Rome. A few examples are sculptures likeAthenian but also Egyptian deities which make a reference to our modern world by having the facial features of celebrities like; Rihanna, Kate Moss and Pharrell Williams.
At some point, the route brings you to climb up onto the tower to see a 180 degrees view of Venice, with a unicorn skull placed in each perspective. This made me realize that the museum really is the best location for this exhibition, especially when I see it is completely surrounded by the sea, which is a crossroads between East and West.
It is the first time that Palazzo Grassi and Punta Della Dogana are both dedicated to a single artist. According to the museum, it is Hirst his most ambitious and complex project to date, naturally because of the exceptional scale and scope of the artworks. Businessman and art collector François Pinault obtained ownership of Palazzo Grassi in 2006 and says it was quite natural to him when he decided to help fully realize the ambitions.He was well aware that in the entire world, only a few institutions would be able to engage with an artistic dream as wild as this one.