Ruskin at Turner Contemporary, Margate

The Ruskin Library has loaned pictures, books and manuscripts to Jeremy Deller’s ‘English Magic’ exhibition at Turner Contemporary, Margate. The Turner Prize-winning artist, Jeremy Deller, represented the UK with ‘English Magic’ at the 2013 Venice Biennale, the world’s most prestigious contemporary art event. For the first time in the Biennale’s history the exhibition has been reconfigured for a UK tour, and John Ruskin’s work is included in this final showcase at Turner Contemporary:

“Deller uses ‘English Magic’ to explore mysterious acts and ‘magical’ transformations in British society – its people, myths and folklore as well as its broad cultural, socio-political and economic history.

The mythical power of popular music, the transformative promise of socialist movements and the trickery and concealment of politicians, oligarchs and big businesses all come under the spotlight as Deller assembles large-scale murals, drawings, photographs, film and historical materials to question what Englishness really means today.

From Neolithic hand axes, through William Morris, John Ruskin and the socialist movement, to David Bowie’s 1972 Ziggy Stardust UK tour, 21st Century capitalism and the invasion of Iraq, the exhibition weaves a mythical narrative through moments and events from Britain’s shared cultural memory, moving back and forth between the past, present and an imagined future.

For Turner Contemporary, a number of watercolours, sketchbooks and paintings of Venice by JMW Turner and John Ruskin have been added to the exhibition. Both artists, along with William Morris, a central character in the exhibition, were radical figures in Victorian society and campaigned for social and political change.”

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Mosaics of Olive Tree and Flowers c.1852

Ruskin’s works on display include illustrations for ‘The Stones of Venice’; Ruskin’s 1849 Diary Notebook; the Kelmscott Press edition of ‘The Nature of Gothic: A Chapter of the Stones of Venice’ with a preface by William Morris; ‘Unto This Last’ – four essays portraying deep concern about the economic and social order, and the materialism of the age and ‘A Morris Dance Round St Mark’s’ published in Punch, 1880.

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Byzantine Sculpture, Venice 1851-52

English Magic 11 October 2014 – 11 January 2015 Free admission

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