Damien Hirst's Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable: Parafiction in the Age of Truthiness

Fallenbuchl, Aleksandra Urszula
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University of Guelph

The 2017 art exhibition, Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable, by British artist Damien Hirst is a parafiction. Parafiction is fiction presented as fact and is the concept by which I develop my analysis of these works and their exhibition. This thesis examines the context of the artworks in connection with simulacra, hyperreality, and historical narrative to ultimately conclude that Hirst’s work exemplifies the aesthetics of parafiction, and challenges viewers in their interactions with art in the age of truthiness. By examining the exhibition in terms of theories of society and culture, I am able to consider how parafiction works to affirm Hirst’s place in history and invite spectators to consider the truthiness of the institutions and histories of contemporary art.

Damien Hirst, parafiction, artwork, simulacra, hyperreality, historical narrative