Here Are the First Official Pictures of Damien Hirst’s Venetian Shipwreck Show

On Sunday, April 9, the public gets a chance to see what Damien Hirst has been dreaming up for the past decade. Widely viewed as the erstwhile British bad boy’s attempt at a comeback, “Treasures From the Wreck of the Unbelievable” fills two venues in Venice, the Palazzo Grassi and the Punta della Dogana. The suite of giant, high-production sculptures is presented as a cargo of lost world treasures that was sunk thousands of years ago, only to be salvaged in 2008 (coincidentally, the time of Hirst’s last career peak) .

The elaborate backstory is slightly undercut by the fact that the fake relics include not just historical references, but the faces of Pharrell, Kate Moss, Rihanna, and Die Antwoord singer YoLandi Visser, not to mention Mickey Mouse.

Each of the works in the show is made in an edition of three, one made to look like it is a treasure just dredged from the deep (a “Coral,” in Hirst’s parlance); another made to look like the salvaged relic restored for display by modern-day curators (a “Treasure”); and a third which is presented as a reproduction of the pseudo-historical object (a “Copy”).

To really drive the fantasy home, the show features underwater footage of the works being salvaged from the ocean floor off Zanzibar.

This fantasy museum is also a showroom, we gather. Carol Vogel reports that White Cube and Gagosian, Hirst’s galleries, have already been shopping the works, at prices starting at $500,000 apiece and rising to upward of $5 million.

In addition to interest from investors, the show has already generated protest by anti-Hirst activists in Venice, and is sure to have critics carping.

As we wait for the reviews to roll in, here are the first available images from “Treasures From the Wreck of the Unbelievable”:

Damien Hirst, Hydra and Kali (two versions), Hydra and Kali Beneath the Waves (photography Christoph Gerigk). Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS/SIAE 2017

Damien Hirst, Hydra and Kali (two versions) and Hydra and Kali Beneath the Waves (underwater photography Christoph Gerigk). Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS/SIAE 2017

Damien Hirst, Pair of Masks (left), Sphinx (right). Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS/SIAE 2017

Damien Hirst, Pair of Masks (left), Sphinx (right). Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates. © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS/SIAE 2017.

Damien Hirst, Five Grecian Nudes, Five Antique Torsos, Grecian Nude (three versions). Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS/SIAE 2017

Damien Hirst, Five Grecian Nudes, Five Antique Torsos, Grecian Nude (three versions). Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS/SIAE 2017.

Damien Hirst, Aspect of Katie Ishtar ¥o-landi. Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS/SIAE 2017

Damien Hirst, Aspect of Katie Ishtar ¥o-landi. Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS/SIAE 2017.

Damien Hirst, Skull of a Cyclops, Skull of a Cyclops Examined by a Diver (photography Christoph Gerigk). Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS/SIAE 2017

Damien Hirst, Skull of a Cyclops, Skull of a Cyclops Examined by a Diver (photography Christoph Gerigk). Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS/SIAE 2017.

Damien Hirst, A collection of vessels from the wreck of the Unbelievable Image: Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS/SIAE 2017.

Damien Hirst, A collection of vessels from the wreck of the Unbelievable. Image: Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS/SIAE 2017.

Damien Hirst, Unknown Pharaoh (detail) Image: Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS/SIAE 2017

Damien Hirst, Unknown Pharaoh (detail). Image: Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS/SIAE 2017.

Damien Hirst, The Severed Head of Medusa. Image: Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS/SIAE 2017

Damien Hirst, The Severed Head of Medusa. Image: Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS/SIAE 2017

Damien Hirst, The Severed Head of Medusa Image: Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS/SIAE 2017

Damien Hirst, The Severed Head of Medusa. Image: Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS/SIAE 2017

Damien Hirst, The Sadness Image: Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS/SIAE 2017

Damien Hirst, The Sadness. Image: Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS/SIAE 2017

Damien Hirst, Sphinx Image: Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS/SIAE 2017

Damien Hirst, Sphinx. Image: Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS/SIAE 2017

Damien Hirst, Skull of a Cyclops Image: Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS/SIAE 2017

Damien Hirst, Skull of a Cyclops. Image: Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS/SIAE 2017

Damien Hirst, Remnants of Apollo Image: Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS/SIAE 2017

Damien Hirst, Remnants of Apollo. Image: Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS/SIAE 2017

Damien Hirst, Proteus Image: Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS/SIAE 2017

Damien Hirst, Proteus. Image: Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS/SIAE 2017.

Damien Hirst, Jade Buddha Image: Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS/SIAE 2017

Damien Hirst, Jade Buddha. Image: Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS/SIAE 2017.

Damien Hirst, Hydra and Kali Discovered by Four Divers. Image: Photographed by Christoph Gerigk © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS/SIAE 2017.

Damien Hirst, Hydra and Kali Discovered by Four Divers. Image: Photographed by Christoph Gerigk © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS/SIAE 2017.

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