Pinault Collection in Venice to show Damien Hirst’s 2017 art project.
The exhibition, which will open to the public on April 9th 2017, marks the first time in the museums’ history that the two Venetian venues of the Pinault Collection will be dedicated to a single artist. It is also the first major solo exhibition dedicated to Damien Hirst in Italy since the 2004 retrospective at the Museo Archeologico Nazionale in Naples.
The exhibition is curated by Elena Geuna, curator of the monographic shows dedicated to Rudolf Stingel (2013) and Sigmar Polke (2016) presented at Palazzo Grassi.
Damien Hirst’s latest project has been ten years in the making. The Venice exhibition highlights the longstanding relationship shared by the artist and the Pinault Collection. A key artist for the Collection, Damien Hirst’s work has previously been exhibited at Palazzo Grassi, where it featured in the Palazzo’s 2006 inaugural exhibition “Where Are We Going?”. This group exhibition derived its title from the British artist’s steel and glass skeleton cabinet, ‘Where Are We Going? Where Do We Come From? Is There a Reason?’ (2000–2004). Damien Hirst also featured in “A Post-Pop selection” in 2007. In addition, the artist has appeared in major exhibitions of the Pinault Collection at the Conciergerie in Paris in 2013 (“A Triple Tour”), and at the Grimaldi Forum di Monaco in 2014 (“ArtLovers”).
The old sensation is coming back. Blood pumping, heart pounding. Like swimming underwater and seeing the silhouette of a shark. In April Damien Hirst, who in recent years has seemed mostly occupied with curating his own art collection and building an award-winning gallery for it, will unveil a big exhibition of new works in two grand spaces in Venice called Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable. So is he about to rekindle the passion that turned me into an art critic?
Very little information has leaked out, but new teaser images show divers working on the seabed, one of them apparently confronting a sea monster. The New York Times reports that the exhibition “includes some 250 pieces in various sizes ranging in price from about $400,000 for small jade objects to $4m for a malachite head of Medusa” – Medusa being a previous muse to Hirst.
Hirst has, in recent years, been pumping out substandard product with a blatant failure of creative spark; when he suddenly started showing “proper” figurative paintings, their lack of technical talent was staggering. Some would say there never was a spark, or that he deals with such hackneyed themes that he ends up saying nothing.
I disagree. At his best, Hirst has the clarity of a medieval artist carving skulls on a tomb. The feelings he awakens are universal and timeless. Who can deny the horror and desolation, the grim comedy and tragic sense of generations passing, in his greatest work, A Thousand Years? It is blind and stupid to imagine he is incapable of ever again astonishing us. I am ready to believe again.
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