For the first time in history, Venice’s two main art venues, Palazzo Grassi and the Punta della Dogana will unite for an extraordinary new showcase of Damien Hirst artwork! Returning for the first time since 2004 and his grand retrospective in Naples, the most famous YBA is ready to once again awe the world with what many describe as his most ambitious project to date. In fact, for now we can only rely on the testimony of those who have been able to see the instalment of the show, as everything is being kept top secret. Nothing unexpected from one of the world’s most famous art provocateurs, but we can’t help but wonder - what can we expect from this exciting new exhibition, after all?
According to the two museums, the exhibition Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable will put on display Damien Hirst’s latest project, which has been ten years in the making. Its importance, apart from being cited as the highlight of the artist’s longstanding relationship with the Pinault Collection, is also proven by the fact the show will take place during the acclaimed Venice Biennale 2017. The British prodigy has already been exhibited at Palazzo Grassi’s inaugural exhibition in 2006 and has been a part of major exhibitions of the Pinault Collection, at the Conciergerie in Paris in 2003 and at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco in 2014 (now home to artmonte-carlo fair).
While the official press release for the new Damien Hirst artwork in Venice couldn’t be more scarce, the very few who are familiar with the installation promise a grand comeback of the artist. What we do know is that putting a show of this scale during the most important event for collectors and critics such as the Biennale di Venezia surely seems promising. What we do know is that there will be an installation underwater, described as “one of the sunken treasures” and referring to the title. Could it be that these are the treasures recently retrieved off the seabed of the Indian Ocean? Supposedly, there were part of the hoard of the Apistos, a ship that sank back in the first or second century AD, according to the myth. The project comprises of 189 pieces and will continue the artist’s lifelong obsession with both the ocean and the blurring of fact and legend, fiction and reality, creation and myth, as reported by The Guardian. According to the media, the artist himself has invited the audience to ”believe what they see.”
Of course, when it comes to Damien Hirst and his artwork, it can hardly go anywhere without the surrounding controversy. In March 2017, a group of the animal rights group Animalisti dumped 40kg of dung outside the Palazzo Grassi, along with the message ”Damien Hirst Go Home! Check Out This Work of Art! 100% Animalisti!. Their message clearly refers to the way the artist has treated animals in the past for his artworks, even though the show at Palazzo Grassi and the Punta della Dogana will supposedly feature no animals. What everyone seems to be agreeing on is that this ambitious new project stands as Damien Hirst’s straight-forward answer to critics which will perhaps finally shut their mouths.
Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable, an exhibition of new works by Damien Hirst, opens on April 9th, 2017 at Palazzo Grassi and the Punta della Dogana in Venice, Italy. A Press preview is scheduled for April 7th, while the Vernissage and the Public opening are set for April 8th and 9th respectively.
Featured image: Photographed by Christoph Gerigk © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd.