from tomorrow his legend on display

The discovery of an ancient ship. The splendor of its treasures, sculptures that come back to light, between concretions of shells and ramifications of corals almost “eaten” by the sea, in reality perhaps reconstructed. It is in this legend, artfully invented by Damien Hirst, the heart of his series “Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable“, Exhibited for the first time in Venice in 2017 at Palazzo Grassi and Punta della Dogana, which now, with over eighty works, triumphs at the Galleria Borghese – the project sees the support of Prada – in the exhibition”Damien Hirst. Archaeology Now”, Curated by Anna Coliva and Mario Codognato, open to the public from tomorrow to November 7th.

The itinerary is conceived as a dialogue between the artist’s works, between monumental elements – the colossal “Hydra and Kali“It is in the external space of the Secret Garden of the Bird – and other small ones, and the masterpieces of the permanent collection, to create a mixture of stimuli and a game of references between eras and” gazes “, in the name of a universal idea of art, timeless in philosophy and ambition.

Damien Hirst, Hydra and Kali [Idra e Kālī], 2015. Bronze / Bronze. Private collection / Private collection. Ph. By A. Novelli © Galleria Borghese – Ministry of Culture © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved DACS 2021 / SIAE 2021

From room to room, therefore, Hirst’s works illustrate their “legend”, in a journey through different inspirations and styles, which is also an interesting investigation of materials, from bronze to Carrara marble, from coral to rock crystal and beyond. . Without neglecting the paintings. In fact, in the process, also paintings, with a group of works from the series “Colour Space“, In Italy for the first time, development of the” Spot Paintings “and reinterpretation of the first work of that series.

All in the name of vision, but also of the “hand” of man. Hirst brings back to the center of the reflection, the figure of the artist, with the creativity to conceive and the ability to realize fantasies and projects. Or, as in this case, stories.

Damien Hirst, Neptune [Nettuno], 2011. Blue bronze / Blue bronze. Private collection / Private collection. Ph. By A. Novelli © Galleria Borghese – Ministry of Culture © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved DACS 2021 / SIAE 2021

«Hirst’s works are almost absorbed into the Borghese Gallery, as if they were his own collection – he says Anna Coliva – The sculptures of this false legend, which he created, acquire further significance in the relationship with the historical works in the permanent collection and, at the same time, the latter become almost legendary in relation to the new works ».

Among the subjects of the sculptures, there is also the Collector, a self-portrait of the artist.

«Each collection – continues Coliva – presupposes a figure who created it. The collector, in fact. But here, the creator of the collection is Hirst himself ».

Demiurge, narrator, author, creator of another world, Hirst brings contemporaneity to confront history, inventing new views on the past as a source of reflection for the future as well. At the very moment in which the artist rethinks himself, in fact, reaffirms his centrality, showing himself to be the son of ancient cultures and, at the same time, their first “interpreter”.

Damien Hirst, Fern Court [Verde sottobosco], 2016. Glossy varnish on canvas / Household gloss on canvas. Private collection / Private collection and / and The Skull Beneath the Skin [Il teschio sotto la pelle], 2014. Red marble and white agate. Private collection / Private collection. Ph. By A. Novelli © Galleria Borghese – Ministry of Culture © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved DACS 2021 / SIAE 2021

The wreck to which Hirst refers is a reference to a forgotten, buried, apparently lost past, which, on the other hand, is alive and close. Still deeply relevant. Contemporary, in fact. Eternally “new”. The references to corals and sponges, various concretions, can, yes, give rise to rethinking the relationship with the environment, but here above all they have the flavor of a “memento mori”. While man entrusts his struggle for immortality to his creative genius, nature, with its energy, reminds him that he can “consume” that research, strong in an endless time.

Hirst relates with time, reinventing it almost to deny it. Look at the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Romans but also Caravaggio, rediscovers the ancient myths, from the Minotaur to the Cyclops, presents unicorn skulls, to remember the suggestion of magic and the illusion of the horn of the narwhal, false “testimony” of a dream that runs through the centuries. And it reaches up to the archeology of tomorrow, with an “ancient” Transformer.

Here comes the reference to Vanitas. History and legend come together. Between divinities, monuments, fears, eroticism, abandonment, prayer, the key to reading is to be found in the first “creation” of man: art as a means to go beyond himself, to confess and disguise, to get naked or instead veil your feelings. Building wonder. Pass it on. Tell yourself.

Last updated: Monday 7 June 2021, 3:34 pm


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