The Financial Times is gleefully participating in the hype surrounding Damien Hirst’s latest comeback event opening in Venice next month. A reporter was taken on a junket to help create the backstory to Hirst’s new body of works.
He is loath to tell people what to expect of the Venice exhibition because he would prefer it to be “a voyage of discovery”, a sudden drop down a rabbit hole into an alternate universe. The pieces — the titular treasures — are extraordinary and befuddling, depicting mythical beings and fabulous creatures. More confusing still, some are tarnished or coral-encrusted and were only recently retrieved from the seabed.
My first glimpse of key works that will be in the show came during a deep-sea dive off the coast of an east African country (I was asked to keep the exact location confidential). A sphinx reclined in the sand, butterflyfish sheltering in her lee. I hovered, transfixed, until the professional divers motioned that we should swim on. Although they carried twin tanks of nitrox, my single cylinder of air determined our dive limit and there was much more to see.
What Damien Hirst did next (Financial Times)