Jeremy Deller: English Magic

Turner Contemporary

11 October 2014 – 11 January 2015

Created for the British Pavilion in Venice, the Turner's Prize winning artist's English Magic heads to Margate as part of the Art Fund supported tour.

Some 350,000 people went to see Jeremy Deller's Venice Biennale exhibition on display at the Giardini, in which the artist casts his critical eye over contemporary life in England.

Seamlessly drifting between William Morris and the Iraq War, David Bowie and birds of prey, Tony Blair and tax evasion, it is both challenging and celebratory in its attempts to get to grips with the complexities of English national identity.

English Magic on tour

  • 1 June – 24 November 2013: British Pavilion, Venice Biennale
  • 18 January – 30 March 2014: William Morris Gallery, London Borough of Walthamstow Forest

  • 12 April – 21 September 2014: Bristol Museum and Art Gallery

  • 11 October 2014 – 11 January 2015: Turner Contemporary, Margate 

This is first time that the British commission for the Biennale has returned to tour British shores and, following its successful showing at the William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow and Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, it now takes up residence in Margate. Deller is working with each venue in the tour to find new ways of presenting the exhibition that are specific to that particular space.

Here, a number of watercolours and paintings of Venice that were created by JMW Turner and his friend John Ruskin, have been selected for display. Like many other characters Deller features, they were radical figures in their time and campaigned for social and political change.

Jeremy Deller’s English Magic was commissioned by the British Council for the British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2013. The UK tour of the exhibition is supported by the Art Fund.

Don't miss

If one piece were to epitomise the display it would be We sit starving amidst our gold, where Victorian designer and socialist William Morris is pictured as a colossus, hurling Roman Abramovich’s yacht Luna into the Venetian lagoon.

Luna was infamously once docked outside the Biennale pavilions with a security fence erected around it which restricted the view and use of the promenade for locals, tourists and visitors to the festival. A wry commentary on consumer culture, privilege and social inequality the mural is unmistakably Deller - powerful, humorous and unafraid to be controversial. 

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Venue information

Opening times

Tue – Sun and Bank Holidays, 10am – 6pm
Closed 25 – 26 Dec

"Art Fund" is the operating name of the National Art Collections Fund, a charity registered in England and Wales (209174) and Scotland (SC038331)