Collaboration characterises the artistic practice of Jeremy Deller. Involving communities in his art lends his work a political content and he radically undermines the idea of the artist as individual genius. Take for example The Battle of Orgreave from 2001, one of Deller´s best-known works, in which he replays a confrontation between striking miners and police officers in Thatcher´s England. A staging that Deller directed together with people who were actually present during the battle in 1984.
For Beaufort 21, Deller is installing his giant chameleon attraction, in Knokke-Heist. As a sculpture and slide for children, this work formulates an alternative to the tradition of monuments which are generally very serious, often refer to historical events and sometimes even exult in sheer heroism. In place of that Deller pays homage to one of the oldest creatures on Earth, the chameleon. Chameleon fossils suggest that chameleons have already been living on Earth for around sixty million years. "There´s something magical about chameleons," says Deller, "they can do things we can only dream of and are the most beautiful creatures on the planet. We have to worship them."
The chameleon is slowly disappearing throughout the world, probably as a result of climate change, although this is not the main theme in Deller´s work. His focus lies on inviting children to use the slide and glide off the long tongue. With this he wants to counter the idea that art in the public space can only fulfil a decorative or commemorative function.
The slide can only be used by children under the age of 12.