Friday, June 02, 2017

Venice – Around Town – Collateral Events: Punta della Dogana + Palazzo Grassi – Damien Hirst – Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable exhibition

“Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes:
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.”
William Shakespeare - The Tempest

Punta della Dogana
Damien Hirst
Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable

At Palazzo Grassi and Punta della Dogana, until December 3, Damien Hirst’s ‘Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable' exhibition is curated by Elena Geuna, The exhibition is displayed across 5,000 square meters of museum space and marks the first time that Palazzo Grassi and Punta della Dogana, the two Venetian venues of the Pinault Collection, are both dedicated to a single artist.  Damien Hirst’s most ambitious and complex project to date has been almost ten years in the making. Exceptional in scale and scope, the exhibition tells the story of the ancient wreck of a vast ship, the ‘Unbelievable’ (Apistos in the original Koine Greek), and presents what was discovered of its precious cargo: the impressive collection of Aulus Calidius Amotan – a freed slave better known as Cif Amotan II – which was destined for a temple dedicated to the sun.
Above. Extraordinarily Large Museum Specimen of Giant Clam Shell - painted bronze.
The Warrior and the Bear – Bronze
Renowned for their formidable maternal instinct, bears roamed freely in ancient Greece and were regularly sacrificed to the goddess Artemis.

Cerberus (Temple Ornament) – Bronze
The sloping necks of this three-headed beast are suggestive of the anatomy of a hyena.

A collection of vessels from the wreck
of the ‘Unbelievable’

Tadukheba  - Carrara marble
copy of an Egyptian bust the original is displayed in Palazzo Grassi

Aten  -
red marble, grey agate and gold leaf
- detail
The practice of tattooing in Egypt is in evidence from around 2000 BCE and was traditionally associated with Nubian musicians and dancers.
The Severed Head of Medusa – Bronze

Medusa personifies: horror, fear, sex, death, decapitation, female subjugation and petrification. Once severed, her head retained extraordinary transformative properties:  Ovid relayed that it was Medusa’s blood, dripping from her neck onto twigs 
and seaweed strands, and still harboring the power 
of petrification, that accounted for the existence of coral. 


Sphinx – Carrara marble
Sphinx – Bronze
Sphinx, featuring the prostrate body of a lion paired with the torso and crowned head of a woman, this sculpture amalgamates aspects of the Egyptian sphinx – associated with male kingship and the solar deity – with the Graeco-Roman concept of a winged female creature: alluring, cunning and often malevolent.

 The Severed Head of The Medusa – crystal glass

Remnants of Apollo - limestone
 The wrinkled mouse serves to identify this vast sculptural fragment as part of an Apollonian effigy. The Iliad describes how the deity Apollo Smintheus – ‘Lord of Mice’ – brought retribution or punishment by disease. The awkward later addition of the god’s stone ear to the spine of the rodent may attest to locally held beliefs concerning a hybrid human-animal creature or totemic deity.
Grecian Nude – bronze + pink marble + bronze
Five Grecian Nudes – pink marble
  Photograph and copyright by Manfredi Bellati
Palazzo Grassi

Damien Hirst

Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable

  Demon with Bowl (Exhibition Enlargement)  - Painted resin

Standing at just over eighteen meters, this monumental figure is a copy of a smaller bronze recovered from the wreckage. The discovery of the statue appeared to solve the mystery of a disembodied bronze head with saurian features excavated in the Tigris Valley in 1932. Characterized by monstrous gaping jaws and bulbous eyes, the head was initially identified as Pazuzu, the Babylonian ‘king of the wind demons’. …
The exhibition continues……




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