A survey exhibition of the work of Jeremy Deller will begin later this month at the Hayward Gallery on London’s South Bank. As part of this will be staged It Is What It Is, a work that centres on the wreck of a car destroyed in a suicide bombing of the al-Mutanabbi Street book market in Baghdad on 5 March 2007. As well as the wreck, a title banner and maps of Iraq and the UK, the exhibit will involve people from Iraq and the Middle East and others who have relevant experience and expertise being on hand to talk to visitors.
The car has previously been used by Deller in a similar project in the US, where it was toured from coast-to-coast via New Orleans, accompanied by a curator, an Iraqi artist and translator and a US military officer. This project is recorded in a fascinating book and website, which document the wide range of responses and resonances it evoked.
Deller had previously proposed that a wrecked car from Iraq be exhibited on the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square (in the end it was not selected). The wreck has also been exhibited at the Imperial War Museum in London and at IWM North in Manchester.