Henry Hyde: Designer, Writer, Editor

Damien Hirst in Venice: Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable Part 1

Damien Hirst in Venice: Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable Part 1

Damien Hirst in Venice: Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable Part 1

A departure for me: a photo gallery based on an art exhibition. But what an exhibition! I confess I have never been a fan of Damien Hirst, but his monumental – and I mean that most sincerely – Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable is a truly breathtaking outing that left me gasping both physically and metaphorically during my recent trip to Venice.

I’m no art critic – you can read the comments of Laura Cumming in The Guardian here and Karen Wright in The independent here (or, if you prefer a more snobbish approach, devoid of a grand sense of humour, Alistair Sooke for The Telegraph clearly completely misses the point here) – but I was hugely impressed, both with the scale of the enterprise, the craftsmanship on display (ranging from the tiniest ‘artefacts’ up to the vast, sometimes terrifying visions of mythological power), and the sheer chutzpah of the vision, dwarfing many a Hollywood mega-movie in its spend and directorial bloody-mindedness.

If your appreciation of art is limited to watercolours and flower arranging, look away now. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a grand day out and amazing value for your 18 Euro entrance fee (which covers both halves of the show), then get thee hence to Venice on a cheap flight before the beginning of December 2017. Wear comfortable shoes and carry bottled water – it’s a long slog and my FitBit was begging me to sit down with a coffee and tramezzini.

I took all the photos on my iPhone 6s, almost all in the ambient light with just a couple needing some fill-in flash. I have taken several shots of some of the subjects that fascinated me most. I have also included some of the photos mounted on the walls of the exhibition showing the ‘discovery’ of the wreck.

This gallery covers Part 1 of the exhibition in the Punta della Dogana, next to the famous Santa Maria della Salute church on the Grand Canal. Part 2, which will follow shortly, shows the remainder in the Palazzo Grassi, further up the Grand Canal on the opposite bank.

By the way, I offer no captions here – the effort needed to just sift through the hundreds of photos I took has already sucked hours from my day and besides, when I visited, I went from piece to piece in a daze, my chin often on my chest in wonder, not bothering to read the details until afterwards: so, this way, you can share my experience! However, it will become clear that the same pieces appear in different guises, encrusted with corals or smooth, as if ‘cleaned up’, and often in different materials or at vastly different scales.

Refer to Damien Hirst’s own website here and the Palazzo Grassi has a wonderful site here where you can even download audio guides.

All the images can be seen enlarged when clicked/pressed/tapped.

2 thoughts on “Damien Hirst in Venice: Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable Part 1

    1. henryhyde Post author

      Thanks for stopping by, Roz, and glad you like the pics. If you get the chance, a little trip to Venice would be well worth your while!

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