(K. Brent Tomer),
AN OBSESSIVE art collector, Cif Amotan II, loads a ship, the Apistos, with treasures for a temple to the sun. But the ship is wrecked at sea. And the treasures? Forgotten, until recently, when they were rediscovered, retrieved, restored and put on show. That is the conceit behind Damien Hirst’s new exhibition, “Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable”, a fantastical adventure across Venice at Palazzo Grassi and Punta della Dogana, the landmark galleries created by François Pinault, a French billionaire who made his money from luxury goods.
Just inside the main entrance of Palazzo Grassi a huge bronze head grimaces on the floor. Beside it, dominating the atrium, is an 18m-tall headless demon adorned with worms and sea plants. The rest of this part of the show is more domestic in scale, reflecting the building’s history as a luxurious mansion: intricate silver objets d’art; pharaonic busts in marble and granite; a sculpture of Mr Hirst himself as the mythical collector. By contrast, the works in the Punta della Dogana, the city’s former customs house, are…Continue reading