Jeremy Deller

Sacrilege

CityLife Park, Milan
April 12 – 15, 2018




Abstract

The Fondazione Nicola Trussardi invited the celebrated British artist Jeremy Deller – winner of the 2004 Turner Prize – to realize his first solo project in collaboration with an Italian institution. With Sacrilege, Deller brings to the heart of the CityLife sculpture park in Milan a giant inflatable installation that is a life-sized reconstruction of the archeological site of Stonehenge – a historic monument that is an icon of British culture and heritage, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1986. Jeremy Deller defines himself as an “instigator of social interventions”: his works are often characterized by audience participation, his sculptures are social experiences in which performances, videos, and installations become places of exchange and aggregation. This was also the starting point for Sacrilege, originally created for the Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art, and later displayed in London on the occasion of the 2012 Olympics. With the sense of humor that characterizes many of his projects, Deller transforms the Stonehenge monument into a giant inflatable toy for children, reproducing it in plastic and turning it into a funfair attraction 35 meters in diameter; the public is thus called upon to interact with the installation, to climb onto it, and to jump and play within it.




Incursion

Friday April 13, h. 12.30pm
Jeremy Deller in conversation with Massimiliano Gioni
miart – fiera internazionale d’arte moderna e contemporanea
fieramilanocity – Pad. 3, Gate 5 | Viale Scarampo, Milan
talk part of miartalks program

 

From April 12 to 15, 2018, on the occasion of the 23rd edition of miart and the Milanese Art Week, the Fondazione Nicola Trussardi presents Sacrilege, a major outdoor installation by the celebrated British artist Jeremy Deller, curated by Massimiliano Gioni.

The Fondazione Nicola Trussardi invited Deller – winner of the 2004 Turner Prize – to realize his first solo project in collaboration with an Italian institution. With Sacrilege, Deller brings to the heart of the CityLife sculpture park a giant inflatable installation that is a life-sized reconstruction of the archeological site of Stonehenge – a historic monument that is an icon of British culture and heritage, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1986.

Jeremy Deller is one of the most non-conformist voices in the international artistic landscape. He has held solo shows in some of the world’s most important museums – including the Tate in London, the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington D.C., the Hayward Gallery in London, the Wiels Centre for Contemporary Art in Brussels, the ICA (Institute of Contemporary Art) in Philadelphia, the New Museum in New York, the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, the MCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) in Chicago, and the Palais de Tokyo in Paris – and he has taken part in major international exhibitions, including the Skulptur Projekte in Münster, the Carnegie International in Pittsburgh, Manifesta 5 in San Sebastian, the Venice Biennale, the Whitney Museum of American Art Biennial, and major biennials in Berlin, Gwangju, Sydney, San Paolo, Lyon, Moscow, Prague and Taipei. In 2013, he represented the UK in the British Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale.

Jeremy Deller defines himself as an “instigator of social interventions,” and in the words of critic Mark Brown, he is the “Pied Piper of popular culture.” His works are often characterized by audience participation: his sculptures are social experiences in which performances, videos, and installations become places of exchange and aggregation. Central to his work is an interest in historical events and their influence on popular culture and folkloric expressions, and the artist scrutinizes these fields with the scientific rigor of the anthropologist and the feverish passion of a die-hard rock fan. With the enthusiasm of a bricoleur and the curiosity of an autodidact, Deller gives life to projects that blend objects and events to create a space of experience that is suspended between reality and representation, history and fiction, philological reconstruction and paradox.

This was also the starting point for Sacrilege, the towering installation that will be presented in Milan by the Fondazione Nicola Trussardi. Originally created for the Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art, and later displayed in London on the occasion of the 2012 Olympics, over recent years, the work has been shown in Madrid, Paris, Sydney, and Hong Kong. With the sense of humor that characterizes many of his projects, Deller transforms the Stonehenge monument into a giant inflatable toy for children, reproducing it in plastic and turning it into a funfair attraction 35 meters in diameter; the public is thus called upon to interact with the installation, to climb onto it, and to jump and play within it.

The effect is at once celebratory and sacrilegious, as the title, chosen by the artist in order to deflate any possible criticism, would suggest. With its unabashedly playful approach, Sacrilege is an invitation to reappraise one’s history and one’s own national identity, but it also offers a sarcastic comment on how these themes are often trivialized and exploited by nationalist and populist political agendas – a subject that is unfortunately of our moment.

The work also takes a stance on the commodification of historical or artistic heritage, which increasingly reduces complex histories or cultural sites to hit-and-run attractions for mass tourism. At the same time Sacrilege acts as a parody of the most self-referential public art works which remain unable to engage viewers or respond to the needs of the communities they address. Above all, however, Deller’s Sacrilege is an opportunity to take part in a great moment of collective aggregation, a carnivalesque rite in which traditional distinctions and hierarchies are momentarily suspended: with great lightness, the artist beckons us into his installation to rediscover the child within us, letting us give way to a liberatory belly-laugh.

Sacrilege by Jeremy Deller is part of a series of incursions which, since 2013, the Fondazione Nicola Trussardi has carried out on the occasion of miart, the international fair of modern and contemporary art of Milan: these consist of special projects, temporary shows, performances, and pop-up interventions that have brought to Milan international artists such as Darren Bader, Gelitin, Sarah Lucas, and Stan VanDerBeek.

The Fondazione Nicola Trussardi continues with this project the path began in 2003, with Beatrice Trussardi as President and Massimiliano Gioni as Artistic Director, bringing contemporary art in the heart of the city of Milan, rediscovering and valorizing forgotten or unusual places. After major solo shows by Allora & Calzadilla, Pawel Althamer, Maurizio Cattelan, Tacita Dean, Michael Elmgreen & Ingar Dragset, Urs Fischer, Peter Fischli & David Weiss, Paul McCarthy, Paola Pivi, Pipilotti Rist, Anri Sala, and Tino Sehgal, as well as the two major thematic group shows, La Grande Madre (2015), and La Terra Inquieta (2017), Beatrice Trussardi and Massimiliano Gioni are now proud to present this major installation by Jeremy Deller, in the fifteenth year of nomadic activity driven by the Fondazione Nicola Trussardi.

The installation Sacrilege has been originally commissioned by The Mayor of London and Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art for the London 2012 Festival. Its presentation in Milan – in the framework of miart 2018 and the Milanese Art Week – is a project conceived and promoted by the Fondazione Nicola Trussardi in collaboration with CityLife, company managed by Generali Group that hands the area where the installation will be temporarily installed.

Sacrilege is a project promoted by Fondazione Nicola Trussardi in collaboration with CityLife, company managed by Generali Group, and the technical partnership of Gruppo Spinelli.

Press Review

What to Look Forward to at Miart 2018 – Artnet

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