Millennium Post

Folk art: the British way

Folk art: the British way
British Council and Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts present Folk Archive, a vibrant, visual account of contemporary popular British culture by leading international artists Jeremy Deller and Alan Kane. The exhibition opens in Delhi at Mati Ghar, Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) on January 31 and will be on for public viewing till February 27.

Jeremy Deller and Alan Kane will be in Delhi for the preview on 31 January and will deliver a public lecture on February 2 at the IGNCA auditorium, CV Mess, Janpath, in the capital.

Consisting of more than 280 elements, Folk Archive combines photographs, drawings, painting, film, performance, and some astonishing objects to celebrate activity from a vast range of British pastimes and pursuits, and demonstrates that folk art in the UK is both widespread and vigorous. The exhibition will includes work from prisoners and community groups, Notting Hill Carnival troupes, protesters, pop fans, teenagers, villagers and the homeless. Folk Archive presents an unprecedented view of festivals and celebrations of local communities and highlights the political opinion, irony and humour that cultures embody.

Folk Archive blurs the lines between traditional categories of ‘fine arts’, design, crafts, folk and daily creativity. Above all, it celebrates everyday creativity that is a part of each of our lives. The exhibition will demonstrate the rich variety of British art and creativity, beyond what audiences may be familiar with, and create an unexpected and complex cross cultural dialogue.

Folk Archive is part of the British Council Collection. It was acquired by the British Council Collection in 2007 and has since been exhibited in Belgrade, Paris, Milan and Shanghai.

Rob Lynes, Director, British Council India pointed out, “Folk Archive is an exhibition of people’s art from all walks of life. The exhibition by leading artists Jeremy Deller and Alan Kane captures creativity in everyday life in contemporary UK. With our partners Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Mumbai, Victoria Memorial, Kolkata and the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, Delhi, we are confident that this show will be seen by thousands of individuals across the country. The exhibition is part of the British Council’s Collection, A Museum without Walls, and it’s exciting because through the outreach activities planned around this project we hope to see a reflection of contemporary India as well.” 

Jeremy Deller was born in 1966 in London, where he lives and works. He studied art history at the Courtauld Institute, London and Sussex University. In 2013 he represented Britiain at the Venice Biennale with the multifaceted exhibition English Magic. In 2001, Deller staged The Battle of Orgreave, commissioned by Artangel and Channel 4 and directed by Mike Figgis, where around a thousand veteran miners and members of historical societies re-enacted the 1984 clash between miners and police. In 2004, he won the Turner Prize for Memory Bucket (2003), a documentary about Texas, and has since made films on subjects ranging from the exotic wrestler Adrian Street to the die-hard international fanbase of the band Depeche Mode.

Alan Kane’s work encompasses photography and installation and challenges the system of hierarchies that privileges high art over instances of everyday creativity. For FRAME at the 2009 Frieze Art Fair, Kane presented Collection of the Mrs and Mr Kane – a display of knickknacks, curios and ornaments from his parents’ home that questions the relative worth and legitimacy of personal treasures over the contemporary, conceptual objects of the commercial art world. In 2009 he produced five 30-minute episodes of Life Class: Today’s Nude, commissioned by Artangel for Channel 4, that delivered life drawing classes to people in their living rooms, playing on expectations of both TV and art education. In Home for Orphaned Dishes(2011), the audience is invited to donate ceramics to a floor-to-ceiling display celebrating a forgotten moment of popular craft revival from the 1960s – when wheel-thrown, glazed slipware became a fashionable alternative to mass production and modernist design.
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