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Damien Hirst’s Hymn sculpture leaves Norwich

PUBLISHED: 16:23 17 July 2018 | UPDATED: 17:36 17 July 2018

The Damien Hirst statue Hymn being prepared to be removed from outside the Norwich University of the Arts. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The Damien Hirst statue Hymn being prepared to be removed from outside the Norwich University of the Arts. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2018

Damien Hirst’s 20ft high sculpture Hymn is bidding farewell to Norwich after nearly three months in the city.

The Damien Hirst statue Hymn being prepared to be removed from outside the Norwich University of the Arts. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe Damien Hirst statue Hymn being prepared to be removed from outside the Norwich University of the Arts. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

In an operation lasting most of the day today, the bronze sculpture of a male torso was craned out of its spot outside Norwich University of the Arts, in St Georges Street, before being placed on a lorry ready for its journey home.

Preparations for the sculpture’s removal began at about 9am today and by about 4pm the giant work of art was on its way out of the city.

Professor John Last, NUA’s vice-chancellor, said while it was sad to see the sculpture go, the time was right, and more major art could be on its way to Norwich in the future.

“It’s been a tremendous success, it’s generated discussion, it’s generated controversy, but most of all it has started an important debate about what public art is for,” he said.

The Damien Hirst statue Hymn is put onto the lorry as it is removed from outside the Norwich University of the Arts. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe Damien Hirst statue Hymn is put onto the lorry as it is removed from outside the Norwich University of the Arts. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

“While we have had a very good three months with Hymn, I think it’s time to move on and start again and think about new projects.”

Meanwhile, in north Norfolk the artist’s Colour Space paintings have also been packed away after Houghton Hall’s Damien Hirst exhibition finished on Sunday – although people can still see some Hirst sculptures at the hall until September.

Lord Cholmondeley, owner of Houghton Hall, said the exhibition had attracted people of all ages and he was particularly pleased it had encouraged more younger people to visit. He said the show had brought “considerably more” visitors to Houghton, with some coming from across Europe and America, and he had enjoyed seeing people’s responses to the work.

“It’s nice to see the enthusiasm and the excitement,” he said. “It is not to everyone’s liking, it’s provocative. I think a good show should be provocative, and this one is, especially the sculpture. It’s quite provocative to take down old masters and put up brightly coloured Colour Space paintings too.”

The Damien Hirst statue Hymn is put onto the lorry as it is removed from outside the Norwich University of the Arts. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe Damien Hirst statue Hymn is put onto the lorry as it is removed from outside the Norwich University of the Arts. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The exhibition was the latest in a number of contemporary shows at Houghton, and Lord Cholmondeley said he hoped there would be more in the future.

“It’s lovely to mix [the old and the new] and have something of our time in a historic setting, that’s the idea, and I think we are the only ones doing that on this scale especially.” he said.

When asked what was in store at Houghton next, he said: “We have got plans but nothing definite yet. We are looking at something for next year.”

The Damien Hirst statue Hymn is put onto the lorry as it is removed from outside the Norwich University of the Arts. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe Damien Hirst statue Hymn is put onto the lorry as it is removed from outside the Norwich University of the Arts. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Still time to catch some of Damien Hirst’s work in Norfolk

While Damien Hirst’s Hymn has left Norwich and his Colour Space paintings have been taken off Houghton Hall’s walls, people still have the chance to catch some of the artist’s work in Norfolk throughout the summer.

Many of Damien Hirst’s sculptures that featured in the Houghton Hall exhibition will actually remain on display at the historic north Norfolk hall until the end of September.

They include Anatomy of an Angel (2008), Wretched War – The Dream is Dead (2007), The Virgin Mother (2005-2006), Temple (2008), Myth (2010) and Legend (2011).

The Damien Hirst statue Hymn is put onto the lorry as it is removed from outside the Norwich University of the Arts. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe Damien Hirst statue Hymn is put onto the lorry as it is removed from outside the Norwich University of the Arts. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Houghton Hall is open 11am-5pm on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Sundays and bank holiday Monday until September 30.

There will also be a special open day for Norfolk Day on Friday, July 27 from 11am until 5pm, although house will not be open.

For more information, including admission fees, visit www.houghtonhall.com

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