“Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable,” is a beautifully filmed mocumentary telling the fascinating story of a 1st or 2nd century slave who eventually builds the largest and most impressive art collection in history only to lose it all in a storm as the ship sinks to the bottom of the ocean.
I love archaeology, shipwrecks and treasure hunts and typically I’m up to date on all the latest news and discoveries. So I was really shocked that I hadn’t heard ANYTHING about this particular wreck. How had something so magnificent gotten past me? Then I noticed that it was produced by Damien Hirst and immediately became skeptical. There are many other elements throughout the documentary that hint at it’s true nature as a mocumentary, but they’re easy to overlook as you get wrapped up in the narrative & the excitement of the treasure hunters. With a healthy dose of skepticism I was able to happily lose myself in this incredible fantasy. Imagine if this wreck really existed! Imagine if the divers were really in such mortal danger once word got out about the massive amounts of gold being pulled up from the ocean floor. Imagine if these works of art had really been created over 2000 years ago and were just now being discovered in one of the largest sunken treasures ever recovered!
This mocumentary was released so quietly you really had to just stumble upon it in Netflix’s new releases. A spokesperson for Hirst said “The film is something Damien wanted people to be able to come across in years to come, which explores the backstory of the project,” The project she is referring to is a controversial exhibition, of the same title, which opened in Venice in 2017. The reactions to this exhibit were exactly what you would expect of a Damien Hirst exhibition: Love, Hate, and very little in between. However, I suspect most people who bothered to view the exhibition either in person or online were already art connoisseurs and were expecting something worth talking about. On the flip side, it seems the majority of Netflix subscribers were just flipping through the new releases and stumbled upon the mocumentary as I had. The seething reviews from viewers who felt conned and “want (their) 90 minutes back” far outweigh the positive.
Yet personally, I fully enjoyed being skeptical and picking up on little hints here and there that were dropped like bread crumbs to guide viewers to the conclusion that this was all a fantasy. I have never been a fan of Damien Hirst, so I was also pleasantly surprised at how beautiful these sculpture are. The sculptures were most likely stunning when they were “originally” created over 2000 years ago. But the coral, barnacles and other sea creatures that have attached themselves over the thousands of years under the waves has resulted in a natural beauty that far outshines the “original”. If I had $500,000 to 5 Million to spend, I would happily take home one of these treasures.
Luckily there are works by Damien Hirst that are much more affordable, some as low as $20,000. So if you’re captivated by Damien Hirst’s artwork and want one for your own collection, you are in luck! If you're interested in adding Hirst's work to your own art collection please E-MAIL ME
I strongly encourage you to watch “Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable,” and make up your own mind.
To read more about the mocumentary and the 2017 exhibition, here are two fantastic articles from Artnet.com: