Another patron saint has emerged! Willam Morris, here depicted as a God-Marx-Moses kind of giant, hurls a toy-sized version of Russian oligarch, Roman Abramovich’s liner yacht ‘Luna’, which last Biennale parked itself in front of the whole proceedings blocking views and sequestering space.
Enough of the rich and infamous…the British are coming! Along with their own version of socialist fantasy, arts and crafts trompe l’oeil and festive parades. It’s magic, It’s Britain. And under the art direction of the local hero of folk and pageantry, Jeremy Deller, the Rule Britannia pavilion this year is wicked and refreshingly open.
Fast forward to the year 2017 and we see an uprising by the poor main-island folk against the rich money folk of the tax haven island Jersey. One enters the pavilion through a wall mural depicting the riotous event. Smoke billows from neat village and township buildings, while a castle above, like a ghost ship of past, flutters a now faded flag.
Around the pavilion is a trail of stone spear heads of Neolithic and BC times, indicating both a link to African, American and other continents, and also suggesting uprisings and insurrection and take-overs of past – this links neatly to the class war uprisings of 1972 which coincided with the Ziggy Stardust tour by David Bowie in Londonderry. Meanwhile Prince Harry and mates come under fire for the alleged shooting of a Hen Harrier, protected bird of prey, who takes revenge by smashing the car window of a Range Rover and clutching it in its talons as it flies aloft. Never mind the bullocks, we will bounce on the inflatable Stone Henge (last seen at Olympics and before that, as mentioned in previous dispatches at the Glasgow International) and laugh our sorrows away, because there will always be an England… that green and pleasant land filled with churches decorated with honest piety and labour by those now versed in the gothic hand crafts courtesy of the Arts and Crafts movement headed up by our patron father, he of the flowing beard and impatience for the vulgarian rich which brings us full circle to Morris.
Phew! Time for a cuppa, in Jeremy’s lovely little tea room, where somehow he has managed to get past the edict of no food and beverages except the sponsor brew, and a very nice cuppa it is too. Whether all this Britain Britain Britain makes any sense to the Gucci crowd is up for guess, but we found it to be most agreeable and entertaining with a good dose of British history, past, present and future to make it a complex, yet light of touch event.