Aleksandra Mir with Irena Sedlecká
(b. 1967, Lubin, Poland)
Aleksandra Mir’s work asks questions, makes you laugh, and makes you think. Her practice relies heavily on communication and social interaction, and on collaboration; in much of her work, she solicits the participation of friends, acquaintances and strangers in playful upheavals of social norms. Her projects – many of which relate to replicas and travel – have included First Woman on the Moon (1999), a simulated female moon landing that interlaced issues of space travel, feminism, and imperialism; and a proposal to make a second Stonehenge that would allow everyone free and unlimited access. The How Not To Cookbook exemplifies her approach: for this publication she asked 1,000 people for their advice on what NOT to do in the kitchen, based on their own experiences of failure: ‘I was interested in how we are taught or teach ourselves through trial and error and how, by making our guilty failures public, we may even be creating an original and subversive form of art.’
Freddie On The Plinth (exhibition)
To coincide with her class in Wide Open School, Aleksandra Mir presents an exhibition about two people with an unlikely but serendipitous connection - the legendary rock star Freddie Mercury (1946 - 1991) and Czech sculptor Irena Sedlecká (b 1928).
As a student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, Sedlecká was awarded the State Prize for Excellence. She created many large-scale Socialist Realist commissions before fleeing the Communist regime for England in 1966. Following Freddie's death from AIDS in 1991, she received the commission from the band Queen to create a larger-than-life memorial statue in bronze of the rock star.
The main focus of this exhibition is a room dedicated to six previously un-exhibited maquette studies that Sedlecká produced for the final work which is now on permanent display in Montreux, Switzerland. These works form the basis of a unique ‘life drawing class’ which Mir will lead on 11 and 12 June, using the studies as models. The results of the class will also be on display in the space.
This exhibition also shows many rarely-seen images of Freddie Mercury and also from Irena Sedlecká’s personal archive. The project forms part of an ongoing campaign by Aleksandra Mir to put ‘Freddie on the Plinth’, which seeks to return the original statue to London and place it atop Trafalgar Square’s Fourth plinth.
Exhibition dates: 11 - 24 June
Hayward Project Space