Opening April 9, "Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable" will be shown at the Palazzo Grassi and the Punta della Dogana, the two Venetian venues of the Pinault Foundation, and marks the first time in their history that both will be dedicated to a single artist.

Teaser images invite speculation, appearing to capture a diving expedition to salvage underwater sculptures, including a Medusa bust.


Other than these cryptic visuals, little has been revealed about the latest endeavor by the artist, who is known for works such as a diamond-encrusted human skull and dissected animals preserved in formaldehyde.

What little is known about the show comes via a single interview with the artist, appearing in the Financial Times. According to journalist Catherine Mayer, the vast exhibition will include 189 works, although Hirst reveals no more, preferring that the show be "a voyage of discovery."

Mayer went on a deep-sea dive in the Indian Ocean to view works that will be featured in the show, including a "sphinx reclined in the sand" and a "large coral head," part of a figure estimated to stand three meters tall and depicting a drummer.


How these objects wound up in this spot off the coast of an east African country remains a mystery, as Hirst's explanation "changes with every telling." However, a no-longer-accessible interview the artist gave with Bloomberg in 2010, cited in Flavorwire, suggested that the story of sunken treasure may be "pure fiction," the discovery and salvage staged, with Hirst making paintings based on the photographs.

In recent years, Damien has been at work opening his own venue, the Newport Street Gallery, in London, and staging its first exhibitions. All the while, it appears, he has been working on the mysterious underwater project that has the art world awaiting with anticipation.

"Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable" runs April 9 - December 3.

Photos: courtesy of Christoph Gerigk and Damien Hirst and Science Ltd.