2018 Norfolk arts preview: the best visual arts events not to miss

PUBLISHED: 09:30 30 December 2017 | UPDATED: 11:41 11 January 2018

Visible Girls, Damien Hirst Colour Spaces, Wayfaring and TrashArt. Jan Eric Visser. Photos: Submitted

Visible Girls, Damien Hirst Colour Spaces, Wayfaring and TrashArt. Jan Eric Visser. Photos: Submitted


A major exhibition by Damien Hirst, Wells Beach transformed into an interactive installation, a photography show of women in different youth cultures and exhibitions exploring the history and architecture of the Sainsbury Centre and Norwich Castle.

Visible Girls: The Lives, Tribes and Spirit of British Women

Norwich Arts Centre, February 7-March 14

In 1981, photographer Anita Corbin captured pivotal “coming of age” moments in the life of 56 young women – all members of different subcultural tribes: skins, Mods, punks, rockabillies, new romantics, rastas and young lesbians. The result was an extraordinary collection of double portraits that represented sisterhood, friendship, belief and allegiance against a potent backdrop of heightened social, cultural and political change in 80s Britain. Some 36 years on Corbin wondered what happened to all those women who were so dedicated to their subcultural tribes? She has re-photographed most of the original girls using new digital technology, creating a set of images that will sit alongside the originals in this touring exhibition.

The Square Box on the Hill

Norwich Castle, February 10-June 3

Built as a royal palace, Norwich Castle was a Norman showpiece with lavishly-decorated interiors fit for a king. By the 14th century, its walls no longer symbolised wealth and ostentation but conveyed power and authority as it became the County Gaol. After the relocation of the prison in the late 19th century, the Castle fell into a desperate ruin until its conversion into a public museum, which it remains to this day. This exhibition will illustrates Norwich Castle’s rich history through a stunning mixture of prints, photographs, paintings, architectural plans, memorabilia and archives, many of which have never been on display before. It will also showcase the latest exciting designs for the Castle’s future.

Bill Viola

Norwich Arts Centre, February 21

Bill Viola: The Road To St Paul’s is a powerful, moving documentary portrait of the world’s most influential video artist and his wife and close collaborator, Kira Perov. The film documents the couple’s 12-year odyssey to create two permanent video installations for St Paul’s Cathedral. Martyrs (2014) and Mary (2016) symbolise some of the profound mysteries of human existence. This film follows Viola’s remarkable story of creating the first art commission of its kind to be installed in Britain’s most famous religious space. This special screening will be followed by a Q&A with director/producer Gerald Fox.

TrashArt. Jan Eric Visser

Groundwork Gallery, King’s Lynn, March 9-June 2

Artist Jan Eric Visser of Rotterdam, the Netherlands, has been transforming his everyday garbage into works of art since 1987. He is a sculptor creating extraordinary figures, hovering mysteriously somewhere between humanoid and abstract, utilitarian and purely aesthetic. His work is unusual not only in its quality of surface and colour, scale and shape. In another place or context, the materials the artist starts with, common household waste, might be rubbish to be discarded without care, at best, recycled into another household product. But in Jan Eric’s world, it becomes part of another form of existence for artistic purpose.

Superstructures: The New Architecture 1960-1990

Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Norwich, March 24-September 2

The Sainsbury Centre is marking the 40th anniversary of the opening of the gallery, the first ever public building designed by Norman Foster, with this special exhibition telling the story of architecture’s fascination with technology in the post-war decades. It will explore drive to develop new architectural forms utilising lightweight structures, industrialised building techniques and innovative engineering solutions. Often referred to as ‘High-Tech’, this label is regarded unfavourably by some as misleading in its suggestion of a singular ‘style’. The exhibition will evidence how this new modern architecture emerged from a generation of (largely British) architects who challenged convention.

Damien Hirst: Colour Space

Houghton Hall, March 25-July 15

He is one of Britain’s most controversial artists, known for exploring the themes of religion, science, life and death, and now his latest works are coming to Norfolk. A new series of paintings by Damien Hirst will go on display in state rooms at Houghton Hall. It will be the first time that the series of paintings, entitled Colour Space, have been shown to the public and they develop upon the artist’s Spot Paintings, which are among his most recognised works. The exhibition will also include some his most celebrated sculptures installed throughout the 18th century house and gardens. They will include the celebrated Virgin Mother, which was shown in the courtyard of the Royal Academy in 2006, and Charity, which was installed on Hoxton Square in 2003.


Wells-next-the-Sea, May 23-27

The Icknield Way runs from Norfolk to the Dorset Coast and has existed since pre-Roman times. Along these routes, artists And Now will create a series of artworks inviting audiences to think about movement and migration; how we arrive at, understand, inhabit, protect and leave a space. Using local and found materials the artists will craft an installation on Wells Beach, which audiences can move through, investigate and contribute to. On the final weekend illumination, music and performance will transform the installation in a rousing celebration. Following the premiere in Norfolk, they also create installations in the North Wessex Downs and Dorset.

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