Image Comparison Task

Write at least 500 words comparing and contrasting the two images in relation to the following:

a)relevant social, cultural and historical contexts

b)form of the artefactin terms of shape, line, materials, texture, volume, weight etc.

c)purpose and functions of the artefact

d)target and/or potential audience, and their social status

e)past and present significance

Jeremy Deller: ‘It is what it is’ (2009)

Marc Quinn: ‘Alison Lapper Pregnant’ – Paralympics (2012)

Both artworks are sculptural pieces, intended to shock the viewer.

Deller’s ‘It is what it is’, is a real artifact from the Iraq war, the remains of a car, destroyed by bombings in Baghdad. Deller took the piece on a tour of America, towed around on a trailer behind a vehicle. He wanted to stimulate conversations about the war in Iraq.

Deller took the piece on a tour of America, towed around on a trailer behind a vehicle. He wanted to stimulate conversations about the destruction created through the conflict in Iraq. He wanted to show people ‘what they had done’, confronting them with something they could not choose to ignore. The piece is accompanied by a sign, explaining what the heap of rusty metal actually is. It is almost unrecognizable as a car, and that is partly why it is a powerful statement.

The image shows the piece, parked outside a well presented Art Gallery, the potential audience is predominately wealthy white people, who would be either going or coming from an art exhibition. Deller seeks to comment on the lack of of art produced showing the effects War, since WWII.

Deller’s intended his work to be displayed on the 4th Plinth in Trafalgar Square – which is also where Marc Quinn’s sculpture of Lapper was first showcased (a smaller version).

The 4th Plinth is an unavoidable platform in a wealthy area of London, dominated by Tourism. This suggests the both pieces were intended to shock and cause discussion from the viewers. Deller piece seeks to stimulate conversations about the destruction created through the conflict in Iraq, which is not usually seen, and definitely not on US soil. People are not expecting to ever see the effects of the war first hand, and so it is a shocking device to show people ‘what they have done’

Quinn’s work similarly aims to confront the public with an image they are not used to: a nude body of a woman who is both pregnant and disabled. Displayed at the opening ceremony for the Paralympics, viewers have no choice but to acknowledge Alison Lapper’s condition, as it is a 43ft Sculpture, centre stage. The audience for Quinn’s sculpture however, are expecting to see displays of physical achievements from those with disabilities, so it perhaps comes as less of a shock. However showing a disabled woman, naked and fully pregnant, is unexpected and the viewers have no choice but to acknowledge her condition, which may usually be the case as it is almost never portrayed in the media. The sculpture is smooth and rounded and unashamedly large. Quinn has not tried to edit Lapper to make her look more beautiful or more acceptable to society –  the sculpture itself is an impressive piece, dominating the stadium, which reflects his admiration of Lapper, celebrating her exactly as she is.

In contrast to this celebration of a figure, Jeremy Dellers piece intends to shock by purposefully showing the ugly, nasty appearance of the burnt out car, completely rusted and crushed to a strange shape. However, similarly to the way Quinn presents Lapper’s body, Deller has chosen not to edit the car: he hasn’t tried to make it look better, or worse by painting or varnishing it, or taking it apart and assembling it in a more sculptural way. He chooses to shock the viewer through portrayed the destruction exactly as it is.


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