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Page last updated at 13:18 GMT, Friday, 19 March 2010
Damien Hirst installation comes to Devon's Torre Abbey
By Jemima Laing
BBC Devon

Mother and Child, Divided
Mother and Child, Divided, in the Spanish Barn in Torquay

A work by one of the most controversial artists of recent times is in Devon this summer.

Damien Hirst's Mother and Child, Divided comprises a cow and a calf, each cut in half and preserved in a pair of glass-walled tanks in a formaldehyde solution.

It weighs 6.5 tonnes (the weight of a London Routemaster bus) and is on show as part of a free exhibition at Torre Abbey's Spanish Barn.

It is being loaned to the English Riviera on the back of the success of Antony Gormley's Field For The British Isles installation in 2009 at the same venue.

The work is being lent to Torbay Council by Tate and the Arts Council Collection and is on show from 4 July until 30 August 2010.

Amelia Mariette, keeper of art at Torre Abbey, said she was "jubilant" when it was confirmed the piece was coming to Torbay.

Damien Hirst
Damien Hirst

"It's been a long process - we've been planning this for a year and building on the success of the Gormley exhibition," said Amelia.

"I suppose you could say we've got the skeleton and now we're putting flesh on it.

"The Gormley work was really accessible and we thought next we would go for something more challenging.

"Children love this work apparently - they are really absorbed by it."

It was created for exhibition at the 1993 Venice Biennale and was subsequently the focal point of the 1995 Turner Prize at Tate Britain - then The Tate Gallery.

That was the same year Hirst - who has a house in north Devon - won the prize.

The exhibition is a major coup and Amelia says the success of the Gormley exhibition meant they had a "good track record" behind them to enable Torre Abbey to approach high profile bodies to lend them work.

Caroline Collier, director, Tate National said: "Each year Tate lends many hundreds of works from its collection to a wide range of exhibitions in Britain and across the world.

"As part of this programme, we are delighted that we have been able to agree to the loan of Damien Hirst's Mother and Child, Divided (Exhibition Copy) for the exhibition at Torre Abbey."

And how many visitors are they expecting to come to the free exhibition, which will also feature other Arts Council loans as well as work by South West artists?

"Well," said Amelia, "we had 38,307 for Gormley so 38,308 would be great!"

Damien Hirst's Mother and Child, Divided
Spanish Barn, Torre Abbey, Torquay
Until 30 August 2010

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