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Bid to bring 20ft Damien Hirst sculpture to Norwich

PUBLISHED: 08:09 08 February 2018 | UPDATED: 15:00 08 February 2018

Norwich could be the next place to host a Damien Hirst sculpture. (left) artist Damien Hirst (Photo: PA/Yui Mok) and (right) the sculpture, called Hymn. (Photographed by Mike Parsons © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd)

Norwich could be the next place to host a Damien Hirst sculpture. (left) artist Damien Hirst (Photo: PA/Yui Mok) and (right) the sculpture, called Hymn. (Photographed by Mike Parsons © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd)

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His iconic shark in formaldehyde and many other famous works have been shown in world-class venues around the globe, and now Norwich could be the next place to host a Damien Hirst sculpture.

Damien Hirst, Hymn, Photographed by Mike Parsons © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2018 Damien Hirst, Hymn, Photographed by Mike Parsons © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2018

Norwich University of the Arts hopes to display the acclaimed artist’s work Hymn - a huge 20ft high figure putting the spotlight on human anatomy - outside its St Georges Building in St Georges Street.

Hymn has previously been shown at the Tate Modern and Saatchi Gallery in London as well as in Doha and New York, and now NUA has submitted a planning application asking Norwich City Council for permission to display the work from March to mid July this year.

Professor John Last, NUA’s vice-chancellor, said: “It’s a striking creation by one of Britain’s most acclaimed, and most discussed, artists. Temporary installation in Norwich would be a talking point, a tourist draw, and a real coup for the city if planning permission is granted – and we hope it will be.”

Standing at 5.9 metres tall, the bronze sculpture would be an intriguing addition to Norwich’s cityscape, and key local figures have echoed NUA’s view that it would be a big boost for the city. The installation would also coincide with Houghton Hall’s Damien Hirst exhibition which opens on March 25.

Stefan Gurney, Norwich BID’s executive director, said the business community was “very supportive” of the application.

“Norwich already has a very strong reputation as a cultural and artistic city and this further embeds that into the national psyche, [placing] Norwich in that realm of high art and really on the map, which I think will be great from a visitor perspective but also from a local economic position,” he said.

Former Norwich Theatre Royal chief executive Peter Wilson, a longstanding cultural champion of the region, said: “It’s necessary for Norwich to place itself at the very forefront of cities that are interested in contemporary art and what culture can do for the sense of place. To that extent, the work of one of the handful of British artists who are major international names is absolutely critical to achieve that ambition. And not just in Norwich, a brilliant part of this installation is the connection with the Damien Hirst exhibition at Houghton and the way it will lead people through from one to the other.”

Daniel Brine, director of Norfolk and Norwich Festival which is a partner of the Houghton Hall exhibition, said: “We’re extremely pleased for NUA who have secured the opportunity to bring Hymn to Norwich. We would look forward to welcoming a piece by such an acclaimed and international artist to the city.”

NUA's St George's Building where the Damien Hirst sculpture Hymn (1999) may be installed. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY NUA's St George's Building where the Damien Hirst sculpture Hymn (1999) may be installed. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

MAJOR DAMIEN HIRST EXHIBITION AT HOUGHTON HALL

News of a Damien Hirst sculpture potentially being displayed in Norwich comes as Houghton Hall, in north Norfolk, is preparing for a major art exhibition focussing on the work of the master artist.

Damien Hirst at Houghton Hall will run from March 25 to July 15.

NUA's St George's Building where the Damien Hirst sculpture Hymn (1999) may be installed. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY NUA's St George's Building where the Damien Hirst sculpture Hymn (1999) may be installed. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Lord Cholmondeley, owner of Houghton Hall, said: “I am delighted Norwich University of the Arts is planning to exhibit one of Damien Hirst’s most iconic sculptures in the centre of the city - a perfect counterpoint to the major show of Damien Hirst’s new paintings and outside sculptures at Houghton. I hope it will encourage residents and visitors to Norwich to make the short trip to the north of the county and vice versa.”

The Houghton exhibition will see a series of new paintings entitled Colour Space installed in the State Rooms as well as sculptures displayed throughout the 18th-century house and gardens. For more on the exhibition - part of Norfolk and Norwich Festival 2018 - visit www.houghtonhall.com

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