An ocean-spanning underwater sculpture garden 11 years in the making set down roots at the 57th Venice Biennale this month, and it isn't by Damien Hirst—it's eco artist Jason deCaires Taylor's latest surreal sunken statues.
Just a five-minute walk away from deCaires Taylor's installation at the Official National Pavilion of Grenada, however, the richest artist alive's headline-generating Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable includes sculptures designed to look like they've been moldering in the wreckage of the Greek ship Apistos, which sunk in the 2nd century A.D. According to a release from Taylor, a side-effect Hirst's new work is a line of inquiry about whether Hirst appropriated his underwater sculpture aesthetic. Taylor released an official statement last night, reading:
"Over the past 11 years working underwater I have always hoped my work was about giving something back, creating new life and providing glimpses into a fragile imperilled [sic] world. After viewing Hirst's latest exhibition it seems I have certainly created an art genre that has been responded to, but his marine facsimiles are very different in context from my living installations. If people really want to see 'unbelievable treasures' they should look below the surface of our seas at the real live wonders of the blue world—nature does not lie."