For the British Pavilion at the 55th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia, artist Jeremy Deller presented the exhibition English Magic. Running from 1 June to 24 November 2013, the show was seen by 350,000 people.
The title English Magic reflected the roots of much of Deller’s work, focusing on British society - its people, icons, myths, folklore and its cultural and political history. Addressing events from the past, present and an imagined future, Deller worked with a varied range of collaborators including archaeologists, musicians, bird sanctuaries, prisoners and painters.
Deller frames these instances in a way that is contemporary but also true to the original subject, weaving a narrative that is almost psychedelic; hovering delicately between fact and fiction, real and imagined.
English Magic, a new film work by Jeremy Deller, formed a major part of his exhibition. The film brings together many of the ideas behind the works in the Pavilion, featuring visual and thematic elements that reflect Deller's interest in the diverse nature of British society and its broad cultural, socio-political and economic history. The music is performed by the Melodians Steel Orchestra from South London and was recorded in Studio 2 of Abbey Road Studios in London.
Take a look at the exhibition:
The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue, published by the British Council, which features a new essay by Hal Foster and an interview between Jeremy Deller, Chris Dercon and John Paul Lynch. You can purchase the catalogue from Cornerhouse Publications.
A following committee of leading arts professionals from across the UK selected the British representation for the Venice Biennale in 2013:
- Ben Borthwick, Chief Executive and Artistic Director, Artes Mundi 5, Cardiff;
- Maoliosa Boyle, Director, Void Gallery, Derry;
- Chris Dercon, Director, Tate Modern, London;
- Simon Groom, Director, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh;
- Waldemar Januszczak, Art Critic, The Sunday Times;
- Jenni Lomax, Director, Camden Arts Centre, London;
- Victoria Pomery, Director, Turner Contemporary, Margate;
- Simon Wallis, Director, The Hepworth Wakefield.
Commissioner: Andrea Rose
Exhibition Curator: Emma Gifford-Mead
Following the Biennale, English Magic toured to the William Morris Gallery, London Borough of Waltham Forest, Bristol Museum and Art Gallery and Turner Contemporary, Margate in 2014. This national tour, which is the first of its kind for an exhibition at the British Pavilion, has been made possible thanks to the generous support of the Art Fund – the national fundraising charity for art – with additional generous support from Arts Council England.