Damien Hirst returns with a huge shipwreck spectacle

In his first presentation of new works in 13 years, Damien Hirst decides to come back with a huge bang! Arguably one of the most famous living artists, Hirst act according to the enormous hype surrounding his persona and presents a show of unprecedented proportions. In Treasures From the Wreck of the Unbelievable, based on a made-up narrative, the artist stages a mythical museum, with art retrieved from a fantastical underwater archaeological discovery; a shipwreck of the ancient times.
"Found" objects, some of the  of huge scale, occupy both the exhibition spaces owned by François Pinault (Palazzo Grassi and the Punta della Dogana) the luxury goods tycoon and art patron who backed-up financially the whole project!
 
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Damien Hirst, "Demon with Bowl (Exhibition Enlargement)". Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS/SIAE 2017

The story around which the exhibition is built, is this:
 
In 2008, a vast wreckage site was discovered off the coast of East Africa. The finding lent credence to the legend of Cif Amotan II, a freed slave from Antioch (north-west Turkey) who lived between the mid-first and early-second centuries CE. Ex-slaves were afforded ample opportunities for socio-economic advancement in the Roman Empire through involvement in the financial affairs of their patrons and past masters. The story of Amotan (who is sometimes referred to as Aulus Calidius Amotan) relates that the slave accumulated an immense fortune on the acquisition of his freedom. Bloated with excess wealth, he proceeded to build a lavish collection of artefacts deriving from the lengths and breadths of the ancient world. The freedman’s one hundred fabled treasures – commissions, copies, fakes, purchases and plunder – were brought together on board a colossal ship, the Apistos (translates from Koine Greek as the ‘Unbelievable’), which was destined for a temple purpose-built by the collector. Yet the vessel foundered, consigning its hoard to the realm of myth and spawning myriad permutations of this story of ambition and avarice, splendour and hubris. The collection lay submerged in the Indian Ocean for some two thousand years before the site was discovered in 2008, near the ancient trading ports of Azania (south-east African coast). Almost a decade after excavations began, this exhibition brings together the works recovered in this extraordinary find.
A number of the sculptures are exhibited prior to undergoing restoration, heavily encrusted in corals and other marine life, at times rendering their forms virtually unrecognisable. A series of contemporary museum copies of the recovered artefacts are also on display, which imagine the works in their original, undamaged forms.
 
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“Hydra and Kali" discovered" by divers (Photo: Christoph Gerigk ©Damien Hirst and Science Ltd.)
 
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Mr. Hirst hired a film crew to shoot divers on a pretend rescue mission off Zanzibar documenting sculptures being pulled from the sea, including “Children of a Dead King.” Credit Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, 2017; Photograph by Christoph Gerigk
 
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Damien Hirst, "Skull of a Cyclops", "Skull of a Cyclops Examined by a Diver" (photography Christoph Gerigk). Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS/SIAE 2017
 
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“Hydra and Kali.  Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS/SIAE 2017
 
 
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Damien Hirst, "The Severed Head of Medusa". Image: Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS/SIAE 2017
 
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“Aspect of Katie Ishtar ¥o-landi.” Credit Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, 2017; Photograph by Prudence Cuming Associates.
 
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Damien Hirst, "Remnants of Apollo". Image: Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS/SIAE 2017
 
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“Mickey”, Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, 2017; Photograph by Prudence Cuming Associates
 
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Damien Hirst, "Sphinx". Image: Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS/SIAE 2017
 

PRACTICAL INFORMATION
 
PALAZZO GRASSI
Campo San Samuele 3231, Venice

Vaporetto: San Samuele (line 2), Sant’Angelo (line 1)
Open daily 10am - 7pm
Closed Tuesday
Last entry at 6pm
 
PUNTA DELLA DOGANA
Dorsoduro 2, Venice

Vaporetto: Salute (line 1)
Open daily 10am - 7pm
Closed Tuesday
Last entry at 6pm
 
Full price for both museums: 18€
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