The British Council has announced that a display of works by Jeremy Deller will go on show from today in their London headquarters. The display relates to Deller’s acclaimed exhibition in the British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, currently attracting over 12,000 visitors per week.
It’s a Kind of English Magic: Notes from the Venice Biennale will give UK audiences a taste of what’s on show in Venice. It also celebrates the forthcoming UK tour of the exhibition, made possible through the generous support of the Art Fund, the UK’s national fundraising charity for art. The display will feature a newly commissioned wall painting of Stonehenge by Stuart Sam Hughes, as well as English Magic, Deller’s new film made especially for Venice. The soundtrack features music played by the Melodians Steel Orchestra, who recorded the tracks at Abbey Road Studios.
Stephen Deuchar, Director of the Art Fund, said: “This will truly brighten London’s summer. Saluting Jeremy Deller’s brilliant collaboration with the British Council at the Biennale, this will whet the
appetite for next year’s UK tour of the Venice exhibition”
It’s a Kind of English Magic will include drawings by prisoners, many of them former soldiers who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. In preparation for Venice, Deller worked in three UK prisons, asking offenders to create works based on their army experiences. The resulting works include portraits of politicians, spin doctors and others caught up in the conflict – among them Tony Blair, Alistair Campbell and David Kelly. The London selection will include several works not shown in Venice, as well as screened highlights from the British Pavilion.
Linked to these works, a new partnership between the British Council and the Koestler Trust saw eight ex-offenders travel to the Venice Biennale as part of an education initiative. Accompanied by support staff from the Koestler Trust, a charity that has been promoting arts in the British criminal justice system for over 50 years, the group will visit the Biennale and talk about the work on show at the British Pavilion, as well as visit museums and galleries in Venice as part of their training for a career in the arts. Each of the selected participants will have previously been a winner in the annual Koestler Awards for arts in prisons.
Andrea Rose, Director of Visual Arts at the British Council said: “This is a great opportunity for the British public to see – and enjoy – something of what’s on show in their name in Venice.”
Tim Robertson, Chief Executive The Koestler Trust: “The drawings that Jeremy Deller has inspired from prisoners are nothing short of superb. Only a small selection could be exhibited in Venice. I’m thrilled that more of the drawings will now be made public in London, not least because they can be seen by the prison staff who helped with the project and by some of the prisoners’ own families: they have every right to feel proud.”
The British Council creates international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and builds trust between them worldwide. We are a Royal Charter charity, established as the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. Our 7000 staff in over 100 countries work with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year through English, arts, education and society programmes. We earn over 75% of our annual turnover of nearly £700 million from services which customers pay for, education and development contracts we bid for and from partnerships. A UK Government grant provides the remaining 25%. We match every £1 of core public funding with over £3 earned in pursuit of our charitable purpose.
22 July– 21 September 2013 – 10am – 4pm Monday to Saturday
British Council, 10 Spring Gardens, London, SW1A 2BN