Children were walking on air today after Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller unveiled his life-size bouncy castle… of Stonehenge.
The 20ft-high inflatable, called Sacrilege, is modelled on the prehistoric monoliths and was opened to the public on Glasgow Green as part of the 18-day Glasgow International Festival of Visual Arts Festival.
It was designed using detailed plans of the Salisbury monument and took two months to make thanks to the efforts of workers at Inflatable World Leisure, who Mr Deller said built the first ever bouncy castles in the UK.
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His giant inflatable is one of the highlights of a festival programme featuring more than 130 artists at almost 50 venues across the city.
Mr Deller, who won the Turner Prize in 2004, said: ‘It has taken two months to put together so it is wonderful to finally see it up and being used by the public.
‘Stonehenge is a part of our history and it is such an iconic structure that I wanted to recreate it as accurately as I could.
‘We haven’t done it exactly but it is as close as we could get it. People should come down – it’s here for two weeks and it’s free.’
After appearing in Glasgow, the castle – the artist’s first major work in Scotland – will be taken on a tour of the UK.
Other highlights at the Glasgow festival include solo shows by Glasgow-based 2009 Turner Prize winner Richard Wright, Adrian Wiszniewski and Karla Black.
Mr Deller added: ‘I couldn’t have done it without the help of Inflatable World Leisure who built the first bouncy castle in the UK, so they are good company to be in.’
The festival also includes the first UK show called Triumph, an installation of more than 2,500 discarded sporting trophies collected by Polish-born Aleksandra Mir, and an exhibition focused on Glasgow’s Socialist Sunday School movement that flourished in the early 20th century.
More than 90 per cent of the work on show during the 18-day festival is either new or previously unseen in the UK.
There will also be a range of newly commissioned works drawing on other artistic disciplines such as dance, film and music.
Teacher Lynda Darrock, 31, visited the bouncy castle with children from Annette Street Primary School in Govan, Glasgow.
She said: ‘The children thought it was absolutely amazing. They were talking about it all day, I even had a go myself.
‘They keep asking if we are going back.
‘Jeremy spent lots of time talking to the children beforehand and afterwards asking if they enjoyed it. He was brilliant.
‘Some of the children have been to Stonhenge and they were blow away with how similar it is to the real thing. They had a great day.’
AND HERE’S THE REAL THING… THE MAGIC AND MYSTERY OF STONEHENGE
The Wiltshire monument was completed around 4,500 years ago and is believed to have taken around 35 years to complete.
The largest of the gigantic upright stones weighs about 40 tons – the equivalent of an articulated lorry.
A Time Team dig (for the Channel 4 show) in 2009 established that Stonehenge was built around the same time as Durrington Walls, another henge, or circular earthwork, two miles away.
The two adjacent henges were part of the same complex, with Durrington Walls the location for a massive Neolithic village that housed the workers who built Stonehenge.
The Time Team suggested that this site housed up to 4,000 people, which would have made it the largest Neolithic settlement in north-west Europe.
While the circle at Durrington Walls represented life and the land of the living, Stonehenge, encircled by burial mounds, represented the land of the dead, the team claimed.
The two were connected by the River Avon and the procession route from one to the other represented the transition from life to death.
It is thought that the stones used at Stonehenge were moved from Marlborough Downs, about 20 miles to the north.
Digs suggest that the area around the stone circle was used to bury the cremated remains of hundreds of people.
Other experts believe that it was a place for healing.
Meanwhile, a study earlier this week suggested Stonehenge could have been designed with acoustics in mind like a Greek or Roman theatre.
A team of researchers from the University of Salford spent four years studying the historic site’s acoustic properties in a bid to crack the mystery of why it was built.
While they could not confirm the exact purpose of the stones, the researchers did find the space reacted to acoustic activity in a way that would have been noticeable to the Neolithic man.
‘Stonehenge is very well known, but people are still trying to find out what it was built for and we thought that doing this research would bring an element of archaeology that so far hasn’t been looked at,’ lead researcher, Bruno Fazenda said.
He added the new area of acoustic science, named archaeoacoustics, could be helpful in the archaeological interpretation of important buildings and heritage sites, some of which may not exist in their original form, such as in the case of Stonehenge.
Because the site in Wiltshire is in a derelict state, researchers travelled to Maryhill in the U.S. where a full-sized concrete reconstruction of Stonehenge was built in 1929 as a memorial to the soldiers of WWI.
They were able to make proper acoustic measurements that allowed an investigation into striking acoustic effects such as echoes, resonances and whispering gallery effects.
The second phase consisted in the creation of a full 3D audio-rendition of the space using a system comprised of 64 audio channels and loudspeakers especially developed at the University of Salford based on Wave Field Synthesis.
This system enables an accurate and immersive recreation of what Stonehenge would have sounded like.
The Stonhenge Tour Company