Henry Hyde: Designer, Writer, Editor

Damien Hirst in Venice: Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable Part 2

Damien Hirst in Venice: Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable Part 2

Damien Hirst in Venice: Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable Part 2

As promised, this is the follow-up to the previous gallery post about Damien Hirst’s Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable. This post features images from the second part, which is being held in the Palazzo Grassi on the Grand Canal.

I want to acknowledge the lovely Joanna Penn who first alerted me to this exhibition, when she visited Venice shortly before I did. She wrote a stimulating blog post here following her trip.

This part of the exhibition is dominated by the vast – 18-metre (60 feet) tall – statue in the central atrium of the Palazzo Grassi. In fact, we visited this venue first, effectively seeing the exhibition the ‘wrong’ way round, but the sheer impact of that colossal, headless figure of the “Demon with Bowl” was stupendous, and the effect is magnified as you circle upwards, from floor to floor, around this centrepiece, glimpsing it from different angles as you move from one intriguing or witty exhibit to the next. Owing to the nature of the venue, this part feels quite different from the other: there are fewer tiny artefacts, and the spaces are generally smaller and more intimate, so it feels somewhat less ‘museum-y’.

As mentioned previously, all the photos were taken on my iPhone 6s, in this case all in the ambient light. Just a couple of views of the bonkers “Andromeda and the Sea Monster” have been tweaked in Photoshop to lighten the mid-tones in order to make more detail visible when I was shooting into the light. I have deliberately added several shots of the giant centrepiece and included a couple of the photos mounted on the walls of the exhibition showing the ‘discovery’ of the wreck. Mickey Mouse being raised from the seabed is an absolute classic.

Incidentally, I didn’t take photos of a couple of the cabinets featuring collections of small artefacts – I think I was distracted by Goofy or The Jungle Book at the time!

This gallery covers the exhibition in the in the Palazzo Grassi, further up the Grand Canal and on the opposite bank to the Punta della Dogana housing the other part, next to the famous Santa Maria della Salute church.

As before, I urge you to visit Damien Hirst’s own website and the Palazzo Grassi’s wonderful site where you can even download audio guides and the brochure.

Again, I refer you to the comments of Laura Cumming in The Guardian and Karen Wright in The independent (or, for a scathingly negative review, Alistair Sooke for The Telegraph).

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 2

    1. henryhyde Post author

      You’re welcome, Roz. I found the whole thing mesmerising. Every time I looked at a piece and started thinking about how much they needed to do to create the finish, whether glossy and polished (like the black and white statues of the women’s corpses in Part 1) or the coral-encrusted pieces like Mickey Mouse, supposedly dredged from the depths, or glittering with real gold and jewels, like the doors or scorpions in the Punta della Dogana. Fun and finesse in perfect harmony.

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