Another reason besides the fog for me to come back to Venice in November was the Damien Hirst exhibition in the Punta della Dogana and Palazzo Grassi: “Treasures of the Wreck of the Unbelievable.”
On the day of the show’s preview, curator Elena Guena narrated the fairytale of Cif Amotan II, the first-century Antioch freed-slave-turned-art-collector whose ship, the Apistos (Greek for “unbelievable”), had sunk into the Indian Ocean 2,000 years ago along with his colossal wealth of art and artifacts. In 2008, the story goes, his wreckage was discovered. These were his treasures, which Hirst himself had painstakingly lifted from the bottom of the ocean to put on display here. (Artnews.com)
Hirst goes to extraordinary lengths to tell this story and mixes historical elements with modern – sometimes resulting in huge sculptures.
But I especially like the smaller objects – the golden treasures rescued from deep down in the sea!
Spread through two of Venice’s most palatial museums, its 189 pieces in bronze, marble, malachite, rock crystal, silver, gold, and more brought to life the legend of an (entirely fictional) 2nd-century collector, and his (entirely fictional) hoard of coral-covered sculptures and religious relics salvaged from an (entirely fictional) shipwreck in the Indian Ocean. Taking ten years and more than $65 million to create, and ending this Sunday, “Treasures” is in all likelihood the most extravagant and expensive show of work that a single artist has ever produced. (Vulture.com)
Not everyone loved the grande exhibition – it polarised from the beginning – from being “the worst in the last decade” to “surprising, unsettling and delighting”.
I did enjoy the exhibition at Punta della Dogana – didn´t understand all the connections or context – but just had to admire the beauty of the artwork and textures. Doing both parts in one day wasn´t probably the best idea but I didn´t want to miss the one at Palazzo Grassi – coming here soon!