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Jeremy Deller – Sacrilege


Glasgow Green
Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art
April 20th-May 7th
5 stars
If you’re feeling down in the dumps, there are few things more 
rejuvenating than jumping up and down like an idiot for a few minutes. 
If you can do so without bursting out laughing like an even bigger 
loon, chances are you’re dead.

As a child of the Rave age, Jeremy Deller is in a perfect position to 
tap into such variations on a natural high, repetitive beats and all. 
By reimagining Stonehenge as a bouncy castle type structure that will 
later be inflated in London during the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic 
Games, Deller is also making an explicitly political point, both about 
the right to assemble and how religious and artistic totems have become 
untouchable.

With the real Stonehenge once a Mecca of the free festival movement and 
now cordoned off to all but the hardiest of revellers, to witness big 
daft kids of all ages hurling themselves around and about the 
structures with touchy-feely abandon on a sunny Sunday afternoon is a 
subversive delight. Taking your shoes off and joining in is even better 
in a work that might well be descended from theatre director Joan 
Littlewood’s original idea to create a fun palace on London’s South 
Bank where Deller’s magnificent retrospective, ‘Joy in People’, is 
currently in residence at the Hayward Gallery.

Just as rave culture democratised the dance-floor, Sacrilege is a 
spectacle of people power in action that has the mass appeal of Billy 
Smart’s Circus and the political and conceptual sophistication of 
Bakunin. Ultimately, Deller is both enabling and revelling in the 
creative power of play, and that, rather than fear or stifle that that 
power as authoritarian regimes tend to do, it should be celebrated in 
excelsis. If such a living monument was in permanent residence, 
similarly-minded children of the stones in the park could be jumping for joy 
forevermore.

The List magazine, April 2012

ends



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