Damien Hirst stages comeback with monumental sunken 'treasures'

enice, Italy (CNN)Damien Hirst has been quiet for a few years now, and his star has dimmed -- as have his prices. So at the age of 51, it seems it's time for a little bit of reinvention for the British artist.

Hirst has never been short of self-belief. He has never done things by half. So the art world press was in Venice this week to find out what he'd do next.

The public relations people have been strenuously working to get us all there for several weeks now. One work, they told me, is over 18 meters high.

    The exhibition has a wonderful and intriguing title -- "Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable."

    It fills an unprecedented 5,000 square meters of space at the Palazzo Grassi and the Punta della Dogana (the old Customs House) on the Grand Canal, buildings owned by the billionaire French art collector and Christie's owner Francois Pinault.

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    Though neither has confirmed an amount, both Hirst and Pinault have evidently spent a huge amount of money mounting this show. In fact, this is quite probably the most expensive single art show ever put on by a contemporary artist.

    But whatever the cost, we wondered: Would Damien Hirst sink or swim in Venice?

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