Jeremy Deller, Ask the animals and they will teach you

Jeremy Deller
Ask the animals and they will teach you
, 2021
Polyester, 300 x 800 x 150 cm
Courtesy of the artist ; Art Concept (Paris) ; The Moderne Institute/Toby Webster Ltd. (Glasgow)
Private collection Frédéric Jousset

Both a sculpture and a children's slide, Ask the Animals and They Will Teach You offers an alternative to the tradition of public monuments celebrating historical events or people elevated to the status of "heroes". Here, Jeremy Deller pays tribute to one of the world's oldest creatures, the chameleon, which, according to the inscription at the base of the sculpture, has lived on Earth for sixty million years. Now threatened with extinction, the chameleon is used here to challenge the idea that art in public spaces has no other vocation than to fulfil a decorative or commemorative function. By inviting children to slide along the reptile's tongue, the monument becomes playful, inviting them to appropriate the space through play.