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Damien Hirst's statue given approval by Ilfracombe Town Council

By NDJFran  |  Posted: July 17, 2012

Damien Hirst's proposed statue for Ilfracombe

An artist's impression of Damien Hirst's proposed statue for Ilfracombe

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ILFRACOMBE Town Council voted 8 to 1 in favour of erecting Damien Hirst's 60 ft statue in the town last night.

The proposed statue, named Verity, is of a pregnant, naked woman wielding a sword and, if approved, would overlook Ilfracombe harbour.

The planning meeting was well attended with members of the public turning out in force to air their views.

Lin Wheelan, of Ilfracombe, said: "All I can foresee for this incongruous piece of work is graffiti and for Ilfracombe to once again be the butt of so many jokes regarding the statue nicknamed 'The Belly of the South. Is this really what we want for our town?"

Councillor Peter Rawle responded by saying: "He is the most famous and influential living artist in the world. This is hundreds of thousands of pounds of free advertising. We must move forward with the time."

Councillor Michael Dymond, who voted against the statue, argued: "It will be a ten minute wonder. A pregnant woman is a personal matter and should not be exhibited in this manner."

However, Amber Jenkins, 23, from Ilfracombe, who was 9 months pregnant at the time of the meeting, disagreed that the statue is offensive: "It is not disgusting. It is not sexual it is more scientific."

The council's recommendation will now be passed to North Devon District Council who will make the final decision regarding the statue.

Do you like the statue? Vote in our Poll now.

Do you have something to say? Leave your comment here...

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  • jackieO  |  September 23 2012, 2:50AM

    Grotesque. A dis-figured gargoyle. A distorted foetus.

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  • AntiStatue  |  September 22 2012, 7:44PM

    Hard work this! Please don't give up everyone. That includes the 'Yes' campaigners, who I must say are behaving reasonably well. Thank you for a well-mannered 'dispute'. The view of a foetus is not mentioned anywhere in the planning application. This is a major issue, material to the application. His photographs don't show this. In support of the application there is a picture of the second edition of Hirst's Virgin Mother at the Royal Academy. The first is in New York, their regulations would be irrelevant. We don't have to study a picture of a different statue and assume it is identical. We don't have to ask the applicant if there is any other evidence they would like to submit. It does not necessarily follow that because there is a similar structure elsewhere that Verity, or similar, will be acceptable anywhere else. An application is considered on the evidence available to the planning committee on the day. The Royal Academy isn't in a conservation area as such. The area is, but the Academy itself is an enclosed venue for displaying art. Ilfracombe is in a conservation area. I wonder if Hirst needed planning consent to display the near-identical statue there? No, or he would have surely submitted that fact as evidence. So, the picture of his other work gives us an idea of what Verity is like, but, I don't see its relevance. There are enough photo-montages, none of which show a foetus. So, the picture of his other work in London isn't really relevant. I will carry on my research into planning decisions in conservation areas and at this stage it is not fair to suggest that this planning decision has been submitted incorrectly or that there is an inaccurate description of the proposed structure. However, there is obviously a difference between a statue of a naked and pregnant woman holding a sword and the same with a gaping hole in her side showing a foetus. It may be a good idea to write directly to North Devon District Council and directly ask the question: Are they satisfied that the description of Verity is accurate as submitted in the application? In all fairness, I would like to submit this to the 'Yes' campaigners, however, it is impossible to join their group, at least for me.

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  • AntiStatue  |  September 20 2012, 2:33PM

    One light-hearted comment from me then I will get back to my serious campaign. Nice one BiddyFord ( below ). lol. Maybe if I visit his restaurant with Scwarzenegger and Darth Vader in our uniforms Hirst will pay attention? Then 'Odd-Job', of Dr. No fame could sort the statue with his hat? As well as an art lesson, I will get Hirst his critical acclaim, he has achieved enough already.

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  • AntiStatue  |  September 20 2012, 10:38AM

    The Council show their true feelings for the conservation area and presumably their next election. That must have been considered too?

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  • Ilfracombe Yacht Club  |  July 18 2012, 9:30PM

    Can't wait for the back lash in the Autumn when it's erected, the pics that have been released do not show the full extent of the statue, that's going to be interesting.

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  • brybry27  |  July 18 2012, 2:17PM

    Whatever your thoughts on this statue, I for one am for it, I doubt it will matter anyway simply because it is now going to North Devon District Council for approval. As most people in Ilfracombe know if something that might benefit our area goes to them for approval it invariably gets turned down. Why should something that has town council approval need the backing of the district council anyway, will it then go on to county council if they approve it. I thought this goverment was trying to give more control to local councils.

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  • skareggae72  |  July 18 2012, 1:40AM

    thats extravagant nonsense Mr Hirst!

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  • appignanesi  |  July 17 2012, 11:57PM

    North Devon, and, in particular, Ilfracombe, is crying out for a new identity. North Devon and Ilfracombe would do well to embrace conceptual art and the philosophy behind it. Ilfracombe is currently a cultural desert; it is a cultural wasteland. Think about the concept articulated in the following quote and think about the visual manifestations: "The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living." How might an artist seek to portray such concepts? The book and, or, canvas are open.

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  • DaveButterton  |  July 17 2012, 9:09PM

    Thanks for your response Blue, we obviously have very different circles of friends as 90% of people I have spoken to are in support! I can understand why some people will dislike the statue, by it's very nature it is controversial, but that is Damien Hirst for you! However the benefits it will bring in terms of putting Ilfracombe on the map as a centre for arts culture, the increase in tourism that Ilfracombe relies on, and hopefully pulling Ilfracombe out of the deprivation it currently endures outweighs some peoples individual opinions on it's aesthetics in my opinion. We do not live in a Victorian resort town, we live in a 21st century struggling resort town that has a lot of Victorian buildings in it. We should value the town's heritage and celebrate it as Victorian week does so wonderfully, but we also need to move on and make Ilfracombe a place to visit for other reasons as well. It would be amazing if all the people that flock to St. Ives for the arts culture also pay a visit to Ilfracombe on the way home, once they are here then we can show them that we have more to offer than a giant naked lady!

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  • BlueMystery57  |  July 17 2012, 6:05PM

    DaveButterton - I have spoken with many in person and online and over 90% totally hate the idea. This paper also ran an online poll and that was shown as being against it as well.

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