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Damien Hirst picks the perfect north Norfolk spot for his new exhibition

PUBLISHED: 16:59 23 March 2018 | UPDATED: 15:53 24 March 2018

Artist Damien Hirst inside the main house at Houghton Hall. Picture: Ian Burt

Artist Damien Hirst inside the main house at Houghton Hall. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2018

His controversial art has been displayed in the most celebrated venues around the world, and for his latest show Damien Hirst has picked north Norfolk's Houghton Hall as the magnificent backdrop.

Artist Damien Hirst with his piece 'Legend' which is now on display at Houghton Hall. Picture: Ian BurtArtist Damien Hirst with his piece 'Legend' which is now on display at Houghton Hall. Picture: Ian Burt

And the international art star flew into the Houghton estate today by helicopter as finishing touches were being made to the exhibition which opens on Sunday.

Damien Hirst at Houghton Hall: Colour Space Paintings and Outdoor Sculptures sees never before seen art adorn the 18th century walls of Houghton’s State Rooms. The brand new Colour Space series of paintings, a development of his famous Spot Paintings, are temporarily replacing works by old masters and bring a kaleidoscope of fun and colour to the historic rooms.

Meanwhile many of Damien Hirst’s iconic sculptures are also on display in the Palladian house and outdoors in Houghton’s beautiful gardens.

Damien Hirst said he especially liked the idea of juxtaposing his contemporary art with the historic setting.

Artist Damien Hirst at Houghton Hall. Picture: Ian BurtArtist Damien Hirst at Houghton Hall. Picture: Ian Burt

“I really like the way it has turned out because I think the paintings don’t look out of place even though they are contemporary, they feel like they belong here,” he said.

“I think it sort of reminds you that all art begins its life as contemporary...At the end of the day you realise all art is just art and it kind of all works everywhere really.”

Among the sculptures to be found in Houghton’s grounds are: Virgin Mother (2005–2006), a striking statue which cuts through a woman’s figure to reveal her unborn child in the womb; Saint Bartholomew, Exquisite Pain (2006), a thought-provoking work in which the flayed figure holds out his skin; and Myth (2010) and Legend (2011), two sculptures which see the mystical worlds of the unicorn and winged Pegasus collide with the realms of science and medicine.

Lord Cholmondeley, owner of Houghton, said it was a great privilege to host the exhibition which has been curated by Mario Codognato.

Damien Hirst and Lord Cholmondeley. Picture: Ian BurtDamien Hirst and Lord Cholmondeley. Picture: Ian Burt

“It’s incredibly exciting this exhibition, it’s the first time we’ve swapped our paintings with contemporary works and I think they look amazing,” he said, adding the exhibition cast new light on both Damien Hirst’s modern day art and the historic surroundings.

Damien Hirst at Houghton Hall: Colour Space Paintings and Outdoor Sculptures runs from March 25 to July 15.

For more information and to book tickets, visit www.houghtonhall.com

The exhibition has been curated by Mario Codognato and is sponsored by the Dorotheum auction house in Vienna.

Spot paintings by Damien Hirst on display at Houghton Hall. Picture: Ian BurtSpot paintings by Damien Hirst on display at Houghton Hall. Picture: Ian Burt

AN 18TH CENTURY HOME INSPIRING 21ST CENTURY ART

A passionate collector of art, the Marquess of Cholmondeley has filled his beautiful estate’s grounds with contemporary works by an array of artists and he has developed an impressive programme of visiting exhibitions in recent years.

Damien Hirst at Houghton Hall is the fourth major art exhibition in six years that Houghton has hosted.

Legend on display at Houghton Hall. Picture: Ian BurtLegend on display at Houghton Hall. Picture: Ian Burt

Starting with Houghton Revisited, which saw paintings once owned by Britain’s first Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole, brought back to their original home in 2013, the estate then presented the 2015 Lightscape exhibition of lightworks by contemporary American artist James Turrell, and in 2017 Richard Long’s EARTH SKY exhibition saw the Turner Prize winning artist’s intriguing land art decorate the estate.

BRINGING HYMN TO NORWICH

As Damien Hirst prepares to open his latest major art show in north Norfolk, one of his huge sculptures could also be heading to Norwich city centre.

Artist Damien Hirst inside the main house at Houghton Hall. Picture: Ian BurtArtist Damien Hirst inside the main house at Houghton Hall. Picture: Ian Burt

Norwich University of the Arts hopes to display the acclaimed artist’s work Hymn – a huge 20ft figure putting the spotlight on human anatomy – outside the university’s St George’s Building, in St George’s Street, and NUA has now received planning consent from Norwich City Council.

Professor Neil Powell, NUA’s pro vice-chancellor (academic), said: “We’re delighted to have received planning consent and we’re now working on logistics.

“It’s a complicated set of arrangements to finalise, but all being well, we’re hoping that Hymn could be in Norwich early next week.”

Hymn has previously been shown at Tate Modern and the Saatchi Gallery in London as well as in Doha, Qatar, and New York. Standing at 5.9 metres tall, the bronze sculpture looks set to be an intriguing addition to Norwich’s cityscape, and provide a big cultural boost for the city. The plan is for Hymn to be on display in Norwich until mid-July.

'Legend' and 'Myth' by Damien Hirst on display inside the grounds of Houghton Hall. Picture: Ian Burt'Legend' and 'Myth' by Damien Hirst on display inside the grounds of Houghton Hall. Picture: Ian Burt

'Temple' by Damien Hirst on display at Houghton Hall. Picture: Ian Burt'Temple' by Damien Hirst on display at Houghton Hall. Picture: Ian Burt

'Temple' by Damien Hirst on display at Houghton Hall. Picture: Ian Burt'Temple' by Damien Hirst on display at Houghton Hall. Picture: Ian Burt

'Legend' by Damien Hirst on display in the grounds at Houghton Hall. Picture: Ian Burt'Legend' by Damien Hirst on display in the grounds at Houghton Hall. Picture: Ian Burt

'Myth' by Damien Hirst on display inside the grounds of Houghton Hall. Picture: Ian Burt'Myth' by Damien Hirst on display inside the grounds of Houghton Hall. Picture: Ian Burt

'Sensation' on display in the grounds at Houghton Hall. Picture: Ian Burt'Sensation' on display in the grounds at Houghton Hall. Picture: Ian Burt

Dog with Bone by Damien Hirst at Houghton Hall. Picture: Ian BurtDog with Bone by Damien Hirst at Houghton Hall. Picture: Ian Burt

The Hat Makes the Man by Damien Hirst at Houghton Hall. Picture: Ian BurtThe Hat Makes the Man by Damien Hirst at Houghton Hall. Picture: Ian Burt

A close up of one of Damien Hirst's spot paintings at Houghton Hall. Picture: Ian BurtA close up of one of Damien Hirst's spot paintings at Houghton Hall. Picture: Ian Burt

Legend on display at Houghton Hall. Picture: Ian BurtLegend on display at Houghton Hall. Picture: Ian Burt

Damien Hirst leaving Houghton Hall by helicopter. Picture: Ian BurtDamien Hirst leaving Houghton Hall by helicopter. Picture: Ian Burt

Damien Hirst's work is now on display at Houghton Hall. Picture: Ian BurtDamien Hirst's work is now on display at Houghton Hall. Picture: Ian Burt

Spot paintings by Damien Hirst on display at Houghton Hall. Picture: Ian BurtSpot paintings by Damien Hirst on display at Houghton Hall. Picture: Ian Burt

Damien Hirst's work is now on display at Houghton Hall. Picture: Ian BurtDamien Hirst's work is now on display at Houghton Hall. Picture: Ian Burt

Damien Hirst's 'Charity' on display in the Stable Square at Houghton Hall. Picture: Ian BurtDamien Hirst's 'Charity' on display in the Stable Square at Houghton Hall. Picture: Ian Burt

Damien Hirst's 'Charity' on display in the Stable Square at Houghton Hall. Picture: Ian BurtDamien Hirst's 'Charity' on display in the Stable Square at Houghton Hall. Picture: Ian Burt

'Temple' by Damien Hirst on display at Houghton Hall. Picture: Ian Burt'Temple' by Damien Hirst on display at Houghton Hall. Picture: Ian Burt

'The Virgin Mother' by Damien Hirst on display at Houghton Hall. Picture: Ian Burt'The Virgin Mother' by Damien Hirst on display at Houghton Hall. Picture: Ian Burt

'The Virgin Mother' by Damien Hirst on display at Houghton Hall. Picture: Ian Burt'The Virgin Mother' by Damien Hirst on display at Houghton Hall. Picture: Ian Burt

'The Hat Makes the Man' by Damien Hirst at Houghton Hall. Picture: Ian Burt'The Hat Makes the Man' by Damien Hirst at Houghton Hall. Picture: Ian Burt

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