Jeremy Deller: English Magic exhibition at the William Morris gallery

In Uncategorized on February 1, 2014 at 7:44 pm

Having a spare Saturday my parner and I made the short trip over to the wonderfully re-invented William Morris gallery. After a nice lunch in the slightly overpriced cafe we drifted into the side exhibition room.

The exhibition seemed a bit bare and random until we were given a guide. And then it all clicked together. The exhibition explores the relationship between art and politics , specifically socialism (Morris reference!). It’s actually powerful and touching. One piece is a collection of artefacts from the fall of communist Russia like food tokens and bonds from de-nationalise companies. It compares the writings of Morris and the oligarchs’ grabbing of these former state resources using money of suspect origin.

Another work is a collection of art from former soldiers of people involved in the Iraq and Afganistan conflicts. Heartbreakingly these men are in prison, illustrating how the social machine grinds through the common man to benefit the rich and powerful.

The work was commissioned for the Venice Biennale 2013 by the British Council. The exhibition will be touring the UK soon.

The exhibition is spread up the stairwell and the first floor landing as well as the dedicated exhibition space and is well worth catching. Well done to the Gallery for such a thoughtful, intelligent show.


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