Jeremy Deller exhibition at the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery runs until 21st September 2014. Open daily, free entry. 

By Emma Farr

A Good Day for Cyclists?Painted by Sarah Tynan?British Pavilion 2013 Image Courtesy of British Council
A Good Day for Cyclists?Painted by Sarah Tynan?British Pavilion 2013 Image Courtesy of British Council

 

This exhibition displays a cross-section of what is considered to be English Magic and this includes wall-size murals, drawings (by ex-prisoners), spearheads and artifacts, William Morris ceramic tiles and a collection of original woodcuts.

This comes from refreshing creative individual Jeremy Deller. A man with a valid and empowering ethos, he helps groups of people to produce cross-media work to share information with the community.

The exhibition shows his interest in the diverse nature of the English people in the many forms. We are invited to consider our icons, history, folklore, and politics as we visit moments from the past, present and (imagined) future in a journey celebrating the eclectic nature of Englishness.

The collection which was originally commissioned for the Venice Biennial inside the English Pavilion last year is set to make a tour of three public art venues in England (Bristol being the second). This is the first toured exhibition by a charity.

Community is a big part of Jeremy’s work; he even hired students to help paint his murals instead of professionals. Making his work more accessible is also something he is passionate about and with some of the subject matter so potentially anti-establishment it seems only fitting that this work has come to Bristol to be painted by students.

This was a very special incarnation of the exhibition and Bristol left its own mark on Deller’s work. With owls from Bristol museum adorning the walls of the video exhibit and a section devoted to Bristol history it becomes apparent that Deller is very concerned with the communities he visits and tries hard to include them in his work.

Jeremy’s way aren’t too new to Bristol, a few years ago we welcomed Jeremy’s slightly subversive art in the form of a giant bouncy castle Stone Henge “Sacrilege”. This features in the video accompanied by the steel-pan band Melodian’s Steel Orchestra and is an indispensable piece of the exhibition.

This inspirational style of art with community at its heart has not gone unnoticed, and that’s why this is the first charity funded tour of its kind.