English Artist Creates Life-Sized Stonehenge Bounce House
Posted by Staff on Tuesday, May 1st, 2012
Stonehenge is one of the most famous monuments in the world, but if you go to visit it you have to enjoy it from a distance. In order to protect the historical site, tourists must stick to a path that surrounds the stones and can’t actually walk among them. Recently, the Turner Prize winning artist, Jeremy Deller, created a monument of his own that visitors are more than welcome to walk through; in fact, visitors to this version of Stonehenge are encouraged to jump and flail about to their hearts content. There’s no need to worry about damaging this Stonehenge, for as visitors will quickly find out as they approach the structure, it is actually a bounce house.
Deller’s Stonehenge, which he calls Sacrilege, was created specifically for the Glasgow International Festival of Visual Arts. Running now through May 7th, the festival showcases contemporary visual artists in a number of venues throughout the city. Currently Deller’s inflatable Stonehenge is set up at the Glasgow Green, where it will remain until he takes it on tour after the festival.
Not surprisingly, Sacrilege has been a big hit among festival-goers and random passersby. Deller’s Stonehenge is a full-scale replica of the real thing and is set on an inflatable green, so that guests can bounce their way around the stones, as well as right into them, without any worry of bruising. The inflatable Stonehenge was created in collaboration with one of the UK’s oldest bounce house manufactures, Inflatable World Leisure. Deller traveled with the company’s designer, Paul Walkden, to the real Stonehenge to study the structure and ensure that Inflatable World could indeed create a life-sized replica of the massive stones. Each stone was then recreated using nylon PVC and hand painted to make them look thousands of years old. In its finished state, the inflatable Stonehenge can handle up to 180 bouncers.
Deller believes that his sculpture will enable the public to encounter their history in an entirely new way; that is, by literally playing on it. The sculpture is an especially useful tool for introducing young children to the complex history of the standing stones: “It’s a very entry-level way into thinking about ancient history for five-year-olds. It’s good to play with our history and culture. Stonehenge is part of British identity but no one knows what it was for,” Deller told The Guardian. Through his sculpture, children will have access to an important cultural artifact that is otherwise kept at a distance. By running and jumping amongst the stones, they will better understand its scale and formation than if they relied solely on text book photos or brief tours.
Of course, this sculpture of an English monument is now residing in Scotland, but Deller feels that its mobility reflects the mysterious origins of the stones: “Nobody knows what Stonehenge is for. It doesn’t belong to anybody. Not the Druids or those interested in British or English history or Glaswegians.” (The Guardian) After the Glasgow festival, Sacrilege will travel to various other locations throughout the UK before landing in London for the Olympic Games.
All Images: Angela Catlin