Jeremy Deller is a celebrated British artist who makes politically and socially charged performance works. Born in 1966 in London, England, Jeremy Deller studied art history at the Courtauld Institute of Art, London, England, and later at University of Sussex, Brighton, England. After a period of unemployment at the end of his studies, Deller embarked on conceptual art. Very quickly, he decided to explore the cultural and political heritage of Britain and its folklore. Collaboration and participation are central to Deller’s work. As he explains, “A good collaboration is like going on a long journey without a map, never knowing quite where you will end up”.
Jeremy Deller is a constant traveller. His work combines performance, video, sound, ephemera, and photographs into projects that explore the history of a particular region. Deller’s process involves physical exploration of places and meeting with the people who live there.
The results of his research take various forms and offer a snapshot of the reality of a territory at one time, involving its inhabitants: “That’s what I’m interested in as an artist, when the spectator becomes the artwork or becomes a part of an artwork”, says Deller.
The artist crosses many disciplines in its projects: music, social and popular traditions. In this sense, the most emblematic project of Jeremy Deller is Acid Brass. This idea of a brass band playing acid house, came in a pub in 1997, is a reference to the history of Britain, both popular, social and industrial. Indeed, brass bands were initially set up to keep workers away from the pub. It was a way for the management of factories to give the workers some sort of entertainment. Ultimately, each factory had a brass band. “This is all part of our industrial heritage now. The appearance of a brass band is similar to that of industry”, considers Deller.
He is best-known for the “Battle Orgreave”, a vivid reconstruction of, and documentary about, a key battle between miners and police in the 1984/85 miners strike.
Then comes the moment of consecration for the Jeremy Deller. He won the Turner price in 2004, the most prestigious award for contemporary artists, rewarding Memory Bucket, a documentary which explores the state of Texas, focusing on two politically charged locations: the site of the Branch Davidian siege in Waco and President Bush's home town of Crawford.
In 2006, Jeremy Deller was involved in a touring exhibit of contemporary British folk art. Moreover, Deller is the co-initiator of the Folk Archive, which some pieces are displayed in the exhibition "From one revolution to another" for which le Palais de Tokyo gave him carte-blanche.