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6 Damien Hirst Sculptures to See at his Show at Houghton Hall in Norfolk

  • Damien Hirst - Myth and Legend, by the entrance to the hall at HOUGHTON HALL, NORFOLK
  • Sensation, by St. Martin’s Church at HOUGHTON HALL, NORFOLK
April 8, 2018
A philosophy graduate interested in theory, politics and art. Alias of Jelena Martinović.

The latest exhibition of Damien Hirst has recently opened at Houghton Hall, an 18th-century mansion regarded as one of England’s finest ones. The spectacular gilded state rooms of this lavish mansion have been taken over by Hirst’s paintings, while a number of the artist’s most celebrated sculptures are installed throughout the house and gardens.

Simply titled Damien Hirst at Houghton Hall: Colour Space Paintings and Outdoor Sculptures and on view until July 15th, the exhibition is nothing short of spectacular. It showcases 46 new paintings from the series Color Space which has never been shown in public before. A continuation of the artist’s celebrated Spot Painting series, these works are much looser in form and more organic in appearance.

The exhibition features 15 visually arresting sculptures, including Hirst’s most iconic and recognizable ones. While the majority of the pieces are incorporated into the dreamlike expanse of the mansion’s landscaped estate, a number are also shown inside the house, including two kinetic ball works from the artist’s Mental Escapology series created in 2000 and Dog with Bone from 2017. Among sculptures that are installed outdoors is the celebrated Virgin Mother from 2005-06, that was previously installed on Hoxton Square in 2003 and outside the Royal West of England Academy of Art in Bristol in 2011.

Hirst’s monumental bronze sculpture Hymn is shown at Norwich University of the Arts, coinciding the exhibition.

Let’s take a look at some of the most iconic sculptures that are on view at this luxurious 18th-century mansion.

Featured images: Damien Hirst – Myth and Legend, by the entrance to the hall at Houghton Hall, Norfolk © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2018; Sensation, by St. Martin’s Church at Houghton Hall, Norfolk © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2018. Photo by Pete Huggins. All images courtesy of Houghton Hall.

  • Sensation, by St. Martin’s Church at HOUGHTON HALL, NORFOLK

Sensation, 2003

Created in 2003, Sensation is a painted bronze sculpture based on an anatomical model of a 2-3 mm section of human skin. First shown in the 2004 exhibition In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida at Tate Britain, the oversized sculpture reveals the labyrinthine hidden workings of the body’s largest organ.

Since the bronze is painted and the anatomical model radically enlarged, the sculpture goes against both the art-historical and scientific norm. The piece explores the complex relationship between scientific fact and the often mysterious realities of life.

Featured image: Damien Hirst – Sensation, by St. Martin’s Church at Houghton Hall, Norfolk © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2018. Photo by Pete Huggins

  • Damien Hirst - Myth and Legend, by the entrance to the hall at HOUGHTON HALL, NORFOLK

Myth and Legend, 2010-2011

The sculptures Myth and Legend are a continuation of Hirst’s interest in the relationship between science and religion. While Legend depicts a winged horse that has been partly surgically flayed, exposing muscle and bone, Myth depicts a unicorn with skin removed from its legs.

As the artist explained, the science brings religion down to earth. The act of cutting mythical creatures open and exposing them as being the same as mortal horses is a way of exploding a myth to make it real.

Featured images: Damien Hirst – Myth and Legend, by the entrance to the hall at Houghton Hall, Norfolk © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2018

  • Charity, by the stables at HOUGHTON HALL, NORFOLK

Charity, 2002-2003

First exhibited in 2003 in Hoxton Square park, the 22-foot bronze sculpture Charity is based on The Spastics Society collection boxes commonly found outside local chemists in the 1960s that showed a disabled young girl holding a teddy bear.

The work is both monumental and vulnerable, playing on the art historical tradition of depicting the Virtue of Charity as a single female figure. At the same time, the piece is a symbol of changing attitudes towards disability over the past 50 years.

Featured image: Damien Hirst – Charity, by the stables at Houghton Hall, Norfolk © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2018. Photo by Pete Huggins

  • Wretched War – The Dream is Dead by The Grand Staircase at HOUGHTON HALL, NORFOLK

Wretched War - The Dream is Dead, 2004

Made in 2004, the sculpture Wretched War – The Dream is Dead is made of sterling silver. It is a portrait of a pregnant woman with the left half of her body stripped of skin, revealing what’s underneath. The body itself seems as if falling apart, with the head and a hand already on the ground.

The posture is borrowed from Edgar Degas’s famous sculpture Little Dance, Age Fourteen from 1920-21.

Featured image: Damien Hirst – Wretched War – The Dream is Dead by The Grand Staircase at Houghton Hall, Norfolk © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2018. Photo by Pete Huggins.

  • The Virgin Mother, in the Pleasure Grounds at HOUGHTON HALL, NORFOLK

The Virgin Mother, 2005

Created in 2005, the 35-foot-tall sculpture The Virgin Mother is a continuation of Hirst’s interest in maternity and the human body. Cast and painted in bronze, the sculpture depicts a pregnant woman with the left half of her body stripped of skin, revealing a cranial head, the muscular and circulatory system of her breast and arm, as well as an inverted fetus in her womb.

While the design is based on a toy model of the human figure intended for educational purposes, the pose is yet again borrowed from Edgar Degas’s sculpture Little Dance, Age Fourteen from 1920-21.

Featured image: Damien Hirst – The Virgin Mother, in the Pleasure Grounds at Houghton Hall, Norfolk © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2018. Photo by Pete Huggins

  • Temple, in the Pleasure Grounds at HOUGHTON HALL, NORFOLK

Temple, 2008

Created in 2008, the 21-foot painted bronze sculpture Temple shows an anatomical model of a male torso with the musculature and organs exposed. The skin is removed from the left half of the face, the entire abdomen, the left side of genitals, as well as from the left leg and arm.

Weighing over three tonnes, the monumental sculpture is audacious and provocative like much of Hirst’s work.

Featured image: Damien Hirst – Temple, in the Pleasure Grounds at Houghton Hall, Norfolk © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2018. Photo by Pete Huggins.