Jeremy Deller's 'Sacrilege' heads to London for 2012 celebrations

18 June 2012

Stonehenge goes on tour - Sacrilege by Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller set to travel to London and around the country as part of 2012 celebrations

With just over a month to go to the start of the London 2012 Games, Sacrilege, the life-sized inflatable replica of Stonehenge for people to bounce on by Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller, is set to begin a tour of 25 locations across the country, including several in the capital, it was announced today.

A co-commission between Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art and the Mayor of London, the work was enormously popular when, supported by Creative Scotland, it appeared in Glasgow earlier this year. With support from Arts Council England it will now travel around the country as part of London 2012 Festival - this Thursday 21 June it will ‘pop up’ for the first time at the National Botanic Garden in Carmarthenshire to mark the opening day of the London 2012 Festival.

The work will then travel around the UK, finishing at Preston Guild on 9 September, the last day of the Paralympic Games and London 2012 Festival. The transient monument will also travel to Redruth; Exeter; Marlborough; Peterborough; Yorkshire Sculpture Park; Gateshead; Milton Keynes; Bristol; and Belfast. It will also appear at 14 locations in different boroughs across London.

Jeremy Deller said: 'A lot of my work deals with history, and Sacrilege is no exception, this is a way to get reacquainted with ancient Britain with your shoes off.'

The first venue on this nomadic tour of the UK is the National Botanic Garden in west Wales, where the inflatable monument will be inaugurated for a second time by children from local schools and a team of local gymnasts. On this special occasion to mark the first London 2012 Festival event in Wales, entry to the Botanic Garden will be free of charge for the whole day, allowing visitors a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience. 'Bouncers' are being encouraged to download free ‘Druid Beards’ from the Sacrilege website – colour them in and arrive in druid fancy dress.

In London, Sacrilege is being presented by the Mayor of London and the London 2012 Festival as part of Surprises, which sees new work suddenly appearing at different locations. Its first appearance in the capital will be at Central Park in Greenwich to coincide with Create 2012 in east London, where it will welcome families, residents and off duty workers for a well-earned triple somersault.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: 'You don't have to be a specialist in ancient British history or an acolyte of the summer solstice ritual to be aware of the unending fascination that Stonehenge continues to inspire around the world. Jeremy Deller's Sacrilege is a wonderfully witty, quite literal leap into that history and a fantastic example of the irreverence that are hallmarks of our great British humour and our incomparable artists. I have no doubt it will be a great hit with Londoners as well as visitors to the capital.'

Ruth Mackenzie, Director, London2012 Festival, said: 'Jeremy Deller’s life-sized inflatable replica of Stonehenge popping up in National Botanic Garden in Carmarthenshire will be a fantastic opening event for the London 2012 Festival in Wales. The work embodies many of the values of the London 2012 Festival – it is a once in lifetime event, it is a remarkable piece of art by a world renowned artist, and it is free for everyone to enjoy. With thanks to Arts Council England and the Mayor’s office this work will travel around the UK and London, popping up to delight London 2012 Festival audiences throughout the summer.'

Alan Davey, Chief Executive, Arts Council England said: 'Deller’s playful and irreverent work is bound to capture the hearts, minds and inner-child of people across the country, and I’m delighted the Arts Council has been able to help make this fun-filled tour happen. Sacrilege pleasing the crowds once more marks the start of a summer that I hope will be remembered as much for the excitement of its cultural experiences as for its sporting victories.'

Hadrian Garrard, Director of CREATE, said: 'It's great that CREATE have helped to bring Jeremy's bold and brilliant artwork to locations across east London. Sacrilege is a highlight of our summer programme and encapsulates our mission to encourage people to experience art in unexpected ways. And what could be more unexpected - and brilliant - than jumping about all over it?'

As Sacrilege moves across the country the growing tribe of followers is being encouraged to 'offer their images to the gods' by uploading photos of themselves on the installation onto Flickr to create gigantic on-line clan. To check opening times and local weather conditions for each venue, members of the public should follow Sacrilege on Twitter to receive updates direct from the heavens @Sacrilege2012.

A full list of tour venues follows. For individual enquiries relating to each venue, press contacts are listed on the Sacrilege website press page.

For further details:


Sacrilege tour dates (subject to change)

Thursday 21 June

National Botanic Garden, Carmarthenshire, Wales

Sunday 24 June

Heartlands, Redruth, Cornwall

Tuesday 26 June

Belmont Park, Exeter

Friday 29 June

Marlborough Common, Wiltshire

Saturday 7 July

Flag Fen, Peterborough

Wednesday 11 July

Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Sunday 15 July

Saltwell Park, Gateshead

Friday 20 July

Milton Keynes

Saturday 21 – Sunday 22 July

Central Park, Greenwich, London

Wednesday 25 July

King Edward VII Park, Brent, London

Saturday 28 July

Paddington Recreation Ground, Westminster, London

Sunday 29 July

Cheam Park, Sutton, London

Tuesday 31 July

Ravenscourt Park, Hammersmith & Fulham, London

Wednesday 1 August

Hampstead Heath, Camden, London

Thursday 2 August

Clapham Common, Lambeth, London

Saturday 4 August

Burgess Park, Southwark, London

Sunday 5 August

Barra Hall Park, Hillingdon, London

Tuesday 7 August

East Ham Central Park, Newham, London

Thursday 9 August

Crystal Palace, Bromley, London

Friday 10 August

Alexandra Palace, Haringey, London

Saturday 11 August

Christchurch Green, Redbridge, London

Sunday 12 August

The Waterworks Nature Reserve, Lee Valley Park, Enfield, London

Saturday 18 August

College Green, Bristol

Sunday 26 August

Belfast, Northern Ireland

Sunday 9 September

Preston Guild, Preston

Notes to editors


1. The Mayor of London is backing a huge programme of free events and cultural activities to add to the excitement of 2012. Working with outstanding international artists and world-class cultural organisations this unprecedented Mayor of London Presents programme is taking place in every corner of the capital to add to and complement the London 2012 Festival. It includes Secrets: Hidden London, with artists and performers transforming hidden and lesser known locations; Showtime, the largest outdoor arts festival ever seen in the capital, with dozens of electrifying artists from the UK and abroad coming to every borough, in high streets, parks and town centres; BT London Live, bringing live action from the Games, as well as sporting activities and entertainment to Hyde Park, Victoria Park and Trafalgar Square; and Surprises bringing pop-up performances, such as Sacrilege, and once in a lifetime experiences to locations familiar and unusual, above your heads and atop landmark buildings. To be the first to know what's happening in this Summer Like No Other, sign up or follow us at / /

2. About the Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival The London 2012 Cultural Olympiad is the largest cultural celebration in the history of the modern Olympic and Paralympic Movements. Spread over four years, it is designed to give everyone in the UK a chance to be part of London 2012 and inspire creativity across all forms of culture, especially among young people. The culmination of the Cultural Olympiad will be the London 2012 Festival, the spectacular 12-week nationwide celebration bringing together leading artists from across the world with the very best from the UK, from Midsummer's Day on 21 June and running until the final day of the Paralympic Games on 9 September 2012.The London 2012 Festival will celebrate the huge range, quality and accessibility of the UK’s world-class culture including dance, music, theatre, the visual arts, fashion, film and digital innovation, giving the opportunity for people across the UK to celebrate the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Principal funders of the Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival are Arts Council England, Legacy Trust UK and the Olympic Lottery Distributor. BP and BT are Premier Partners of the Cultural Olympiad and the London 2012 Festival. For more details on the programme, to download the London 2012 Festival official guide and to sign up for information visit

3. Arts Council England is proud to work in partnership with London 2012, and is a principal funder of the Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival. The Arts Council champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives. It supports a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2011 and 2015, it will invest £1.4 billion of public money from government and an estimated £1 billion from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.

4. Taking place every other year, and combining some of the characteristics of a conventional arts ‘biennial’ with a more event-based experience, Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art is a unique event in the international calendar with one of the most groundbreaking and dynamic presentations of contemporary visual arts practice. GI is a unique event that offers both globally recognised and emerging Glasgow-based artists across the spectrum of the city’s art scene a platform to show new work to both national and international audiences while also introducing the work of important international artists. Since its inception in 2005 the Festival has brought together the key organisations in Glasgow’s diverse artistic community, presenting unique events and special commissions rooted in the achievements of the local artistic community, while drawing on important international developments in contemporary art.