Aleksandra Mir

Freddie on The Plinth

Wide Open School, Hayward Gallery, London, June 2012


11 June - 9 September 2012
Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre, London

11-12 June 2012: Aleksandra Mir presents a 45-minute lecture on two people with an unlikely but beautiful connection - the legendary rock star Freddie Mercury (1946 - 1991) and Czech sculptor Irena Sedlecka (b 1928). As a student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, Sedlecka was awarded the State Prize for excellence. She created many Socialist Realist large-scale commissions before fleeing the Communist regime for England in 1966. It was in London, after Freddie's death from AIDS in 1991, that she received the commission from the band Queen to create a larger-than-life memorial statue in bronze of the rock star. The lecture is followed by a two hour drawing class where students are free to explore and to draw from Irena Sedlecka's scale models and studies of Freddie Mercury, which she produced in preparation for making the memorial statue. All drawings produced during the class will be exhibited as a collective exhibition.

Open to people with all levels of drawing ability, as well as fans of rock music and classical art. This class welcomes your unique perspective on all of the above.

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. She has also created 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.

She says '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.

Wide Open School is an unusual experiment in learning with courses devised and led by over 100 artists from 40 different countries. The School is open to everyone.