This weekend saw the opening of Damien Hirst’s gigantomania fantasy made make-believe exhibition Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable at Palazzo Grassi and Punta della Dogana in Venice.

Hirst’s grand make-believe

Gods only ever exist because of the people who believe in them. The same goes for the world of contemporary art; it only functions if we all play along in the game of consent and belief. Damien Hirst has managed to shake and stir up this dynamic by staging a hoax. His story of the treasures of freed slave Amotan whose treasures sank 2000 years ago a vessel called Apistos just of the coast of East Africa. In his new role as archeologist he presents its cargo. Comprised of 189 works, it is what Hirst seemingly discovered in the wreck. A combination of Inca, Aztec, Egyptian, Roman and Greek artifacts – seemingly. A closer look will see the words “Sea World“ engraved in an ancient sword, apart from the aparten Mickey Mouse and Goofy statures overgrown with coral.

The art of storytelling

Within all the wonders and strangeness, kitsch and fake from unicorn skulls to medusa heads, Hirst has mastered one thing – the art of storytelling: telling stories people want to hear. Mixing and remixing ancient cultures and making their myths and legends his own – taking ownership. Stories of power, love, lust, wealth, betrayal and death. The recreated artifacts representing the stories are exhibited with info boards as would be expected in your national history museum.

Palazzo Grassi gigantomania

The exhibition is Hirst’s grand return to the spotlight after several years of silence and was much anticipated. Set within Francois Pinault owned locations the spectacle opening was meet and greet of who is who in the art world. A overly crowded gathering of those who believe in the world of art and are therefore forced to believe in the tale of Amotan.

Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable

9 April 2017 – 3 December 2017

Solo Exhibition. Punta della Dogana and Palazzo Grassi, Venice, Italy.

Open daily 10am – 7pm

Closed Tuesday

Last entry at 6pm

Palazzo Grassi

Campo San Samuele 3231, 30124 Venice, Italy

Vaporetto: San Samuele (line 2), Sant’Angelo (line 1)

Punta della Dogana

Dorsoduro 2, 30124 Venice, Italy

Vaporetto: Salute (line 1)


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