It’s a Kind of English Magic is a new display by Jeremy Deller which refers to his acclaimed exhibition English Magic, currently on show in the British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, commissioned by the British Council. The show aims to give audiences here in the UK a flavour of Deller’s exhibition in Venice before it returns to the UK for a national tour in 2014.
It’s a Kind of English Magic brings together many of the themes and ideas in Deller’s Venice exhibition and reflects his interest in Britain’s cultural and political history - from myths and folklore to icons and emblems. This display combines some of the works from Venice alongside newly commissioned pieces including a new wall painting by Stuart Sam Hughes and a banner by Deller's long time collaborator, Ed Hall.
Deller’s ability to include in his art the skills and experience of others makes his work particularly resonant. The individuals and communities he works with represent a broad spectrum of British society; his ability to choreograph these into a compelling picture of Britain is part of the magic he weaves.
Of particular note are an extended selection of drawings by UK prisoners, created in a series of workshops led by Deller in the run up to the Biennale. Each of the prisoners was an ex-serviceman who had served in Iraq or Afganistan and the works they created depict some of the key figures in the conflict, from weapons experts to media moguls, alongside depictions of day to day life for the troops.
Visitors are also invited to create their own artworks to take away from the exhibition in the form of an ink stamp print based on two of the major wall paintings on display in Venice: A Good Day for Cyclists which shows a giant hen harrier clutching a Range Rover in its talons (painted by Sarah Tynan), and We Sit Starving Amidst Our Gold, which depicts the English designer and socialist William Morris destroying a vast yacht owned by Roman Abramovich (painted by Stuart Sam Hughes).
The exhibition runs until 21st September 2014 and is open Monday to Saturday, 10am - 4pm.
British Council, 10 Spring Gardens, London, SW1A 2BN